This blog relates to my current personal experience working as a music therapist. Every music therapist is unique within the way they work with clients, however, there are often similarities we share as a collective. In my current experience working with children through to adults as a music therapist, I always tend to work towards gaining a deeper understanding of my clients from their perspective. As well as from my own perspective. What do the clients think of when they enter the room? What do they think when they see musical instruments everywhere? What are the parents thinking when they sit in on a music therapy session? What do the clients think, see, feel, and hear when they play the instruments, sing, dance, or listen to me? I can only observe from what I can see, hear, sense and notice within that moment. And this is only from my own perspective. I can only imagine what it is that's transmitting within the mind of the client at hand. In reality most of my observations are initiated by how much and in what way the client engages with me and the music, and the activity in that moment. Some observations are also taken from parent feedback, and/or the client feedback. What I enjoy the most as a music therapist is that I am always learning from my experiences and from my clients within the music therapy room.
A lot of my clients that begin sessions with me might see that they are just playing and engaging in fun music activities, or learning how to play certain musical instruments. Which in most cases they are. However, I see so much more. What I see as a music therapist is the development of fine and gross motor skills: the way in which the client moves their fingers across the piano, guitar, drum; the way that the client moves their arms to play the drum; the way the client coordinates their body during action songs and playing of musical instruments.
What I hear as a music therapist is: the way the client sings melodically or rhythmically; the way the client seems to prefer to sing or play instruments (loud/soft/hesitantly/with confidence/playfully/angrily/happily/sadly).
What I sense and feel as a music therapist is the energy the client brings into the music therapy room; does the client seem energetic/flighty/calm/relaxed/anxious/angry/upset/happy/excited?
Can the client self regulate their emotions and/or transition between rooms/activities with self awareness and mindfulness?
What I notice is the ability the client has with regards to holding a conversation with me, whether it be musically or socially; is the client interacting with verbal language (voice and words) and/or non-verbal language (eye contact, hand gestures, closed or open body language)? Can the client engage in a musical conversation by listening, following, leading, stopping, starting, slowing down, speeding up, increasing or decreasing dynamics with me?
Consequently from the many experiences I might encounter during my day to day music therapy sessions, I am always so amazed at how music can support clients in developing their lifestyle skills, while having fun at the same time. In all honesty, I really love my job.
Check out the Australian Music Therapy Association for more info regarding Music Therapy https://www.austmta.org.au/