I have had much experience performing music programs in nursing homes, rest homes, and care facilities in the Asheville, North Carolina, area, as well as here in the Raleigh-Durham area. Although I have taken preliminary studies in the field, I am not a professional music therapist. I’ve realized that my path is parallel but distinct from that one and unique to me and my gifts.
Music Therapy has been defined as a process based on a personal, one-on-one, relationship between therapist and client, focused on goals incident to optimizing the client’s health, with music as the vehicle for the change. What I offer is entertainment that is both musical and therapeutic. Though I address an audience, a group, what I express is received individually by each listener, who responds within his or her own personal space, in any manner that best enables them to participate and enjoy the experience.
My experiences observing these responses most satisfying. Patients and residents respond on diverse levels, from subtle changes in posture or facial expression to broad smiles, hand clapping, or even spontaneous dancing. This can be seen as the reciprocal response in that “one-on-one” dynamic and as positive feedback for the performing “therapist.”
There is an enhanced aspect to this rich exchange that occurs when repeat programs are scheduled regularly. I arrive to find residents seated and faces lit up in anticipation. Perhaps this best indicates the positive results of such “Musical Therapy”—-spirits are lifted and burdens lightened. There’s the aphorism from the Book of Proverbs: “A merry heart does good like a medicine.”
Ultimately, what I offer enhances the quality of life for residents and patients, which is ultimately the goal of all forms of therapy.