Blog

What Am I Doing?

May 01, 2019
As a music therapist at the beginning of my career, I have already experienced amazing highs, discouraging moments, and plenty of twists and turns. I knew music therapy was a career I wanted to pursue when I was thirteen years old. My physiotherapist at the time began to talk to me about music therapy. Though the profession very much intrigued me, I really had no idea what being a music therapist looked like. Despite so many unknowns, there were two things I knew for certain: I loved working with children and I knew music could be incredibly therapeutic. So why not combine the two!
 
While completing my education at Wilfrid Laurier University, I had the opportunity to dip my toes in a variety of client groups, ranging from clients who were twelve years old to ninety years old. Don’t get me wrong, having all of these placements and experiences were incredibly helpful and educational. That being said, it can still be very difficult to get a clear idea of what you’re...
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Learning Patience

Apr 16, 2019

To the person who feels stuck in limbo,

This past year I’ve gained an important skill, and that is patience. I would imagine that if you ask anyone what skills a music therapist needs, many would include patience as one of them, as something that is “already a given”, which is something I thought as well. But now the skill of patience has a new meaning. Not only should a person have patience and compassion when working with vulnerable persons but they also need to have that for themselves.

To be patient with yourself is to know that even if you don’t succeed the first time it doesn’t mean you weren’t good enough. To be patient with yourself means to give yourself all the time you need to have personal growth and insight. To be patient with yourself means to gain experience by doing things that make you happy and not doing them because they’ll give you a “leg up” against someone else who is also trying to be the best that they can...

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For Cause Not Applause

Apr 04, 2019

I was first introduced to music therapy in high school. As part of a grade 10 music project, we were asked to choose a career in music and write a report about it. My music teacher suggested I write about music therapy since I was interested in health sciences. I wrote the report and thought that music therapy was cool, but I still really wanted to be a doctor. Over time, I started revisiting music therapy as a potential career choice. After more research and soul searching, I decided music therapy was something I wished to pursue. I completed a co-op with Rachael Finnerty at the music therapy studio she owned at the time. It was through this that I first heard of the music therapy program at Acadia University, a small school in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. I visited the university for an open house and fell in love with Wolfville and Acadia. I auditioned and was accepted into the music therapy program. I started in September of 2014.

My four years as a music therapy student were full of...

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Women in Music Therapy

Mar 08, 2019

As we come together to celebrate International women's day as well as Music therapy awareness month, let us take a moment to acknowledge the pioneers of the practice. Dating back to as early as the 1800s to early 1900s (Byers, 2016), the use of music has been a healing tool for many. However, we often forget to acknowledge that this practice has been built on a foundation of women. Much like the ancient Greeks, pioneers Eva Vescelius, Isa Maud Ilsen, and Harriet Ayer Seymour (2016) believed that music was there to be a tool to facilitate health (2016).

Unfortunately, as these three women passed, so did their foundations and organizations. This resulted in a loss of files and physical proof of their practices. Due to these circumstances, the practice of music therapy only respectively became an official occupation post world war II within the United States of America (2016). However, there are records of others using live music to sedate hospital patients in the year of 1891...
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Music Therapist In Training - Intro

Feb 22, 2019
Author: Nicole Cochrane (MT in Training)

Disclaimer: In order to maintain confidentiality all names have been changed to fictitious ones.*

Hello there! My name is Nicole Cochrane and I’m currently doing my music therapy internship in long-term care (LTC). Starting your internship is a daunting task; you are faced with both professional and personal challenges. In order to address some of these struggles I will be sharing a series of blogs consisting of an ongoing case study. In this first blog I will be introducing myself and what I’ll be covering throughout the series.

So, what am I doing here? This will be an ongoing series geared towards newer music
therapists. Here we will follow the progress of a unique client I’m working with. Through this series we will take a look at what makes this client different from other LTC residents, how new music therapists could work through the challenges presented by these differences as well as the relationship between verbal...
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Finding the Person Within Dementia Through Music Workshop Review

Feb 04, 2019
Author: Jordyn Gibson

Jordyn Gibson is a life-time student at the school of Earth. More formally, she studied Journalism at Ryerson and continues her education in varied certificate programs from Doula Training to Personal Finance. She is deeply passionate about Health and Wellness and how they intersect with Communications and Culture. She intends to use her passion to harness wellness, first within herself and then to transmit that message to the community around her.

I had a really good conversation and it led to an even better one—as they do.
Rachael Finnerty is the Founder and Director of Education of The Ontario Music Therapy Academy, and I had the pleasure of unpacking some concepts around our relationship to music with her. Following our conversation, she invited me to a workshop she was conducting in Hamilton. The workshop was titled Finding the Person Within Dementia Through Music. Music therapists and care professionals from all over the province—someone had...
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Tuning Your Mind: Interview with Music Therapist Rachael Finnerty

Jan 29, 2019
Tuning Your Mind was created by a group of McMaster University students called MAIE involved in a community-engaged project. The main goal of their blog was to provide up-to-date information and interesting posts about how music therapy is a beneficial alternative therapy, specifically for Dementia, Autism, Speech Disorders and Depression. Their posts have a significant emphasis on the neurological influences music therapy has in relation to the disorders listed above.

In 2016, the OMTA Director of Education was contacted by the students behind Tuning Your Mind to answer interview questions like: What types of neurological disorders do you find work well with music therapy? What do people not know about music therapy? and Do you have any experience or knowledge on the effects of music therapy on speech impediments, autism, dementia, depression specifically?

Read the full interview here to get Rachael's perspective and learn more about music therapy!

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Musician Jamila B.'s Message: Show Some Love

Jan 07, 2019

 As a recording artist, I use music to express the emotions and thoughts that I have inside of myself. Whether it is an emotion of happiness or sadness, there is something great about sharing it with other people.

          I recently created a song called “Show Some Love”. It is an upbeat pop and R&B song that is about self-care and not giving up on yourself. I remember while I was writing it, I wanted to make a song that would uplift peoples' spirits when they were feeling down for a day, depressed or even suicidal. I wanted this song to encourage anyone who hears it, and to remind them they are not alone and to reach out to somebody if they need help.

         I have experienced depression and it was such a dark place that I felt like I could not tell many people about. I was often the friend who was considered the “strong one,” so I felt I was not even allowed to feel this way....

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How Music Helps With Mental Health

Dec 18, 2018

Check out this informative overview of music therapy and music's impact on wellbeing, from Will Tottle of My Audio Sound in the United Kingdom. 

"Music has been with us for thousands of years as a form of entertainment, communication, celebration, and mourning. There are so many different emotions that music can help us to express, and it is a language that we share universally, as well as one that everyone can understand.

The style of music that we listen to most and enjoy may change every decade, but that sense of communication and feeling always remains. If you, or someone close to you, suffer from mental health conditions, you may find that they listen to music quite a lot, or even play it.

Music has a way of helping us express emotions that we don’t even understand ourselves, and can put these feelings into meaningful lyrics, or just a tune that resonates with every fibre of our being. 

For many, music is a lifeline that keeps them tethered to the world, and...

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Going to California

Nov 06, 2018
Author: Annilee Baron, OMTA Director of Communications

Last month I had the opportunity to meet with Renee Dundas MT-BC MA, a board certified Music Therapist and retired Special Education Teacher working in Los Angeles, California. 
 
During our chat, Renee told me about her first internship experience in music therapy, which was in mental health at a psychiatric facility. Renee recalled the powerful ability that her music therapy sessions had in orienting persons to the present, while simultaneously providing a healthy, positive 'escape.' According to Renee, music was one of the few ways that the persons in this facility could be truly reached and engaged.

In addition to working in mental health settings, Renee has worked with children and adults with special needs, and in geriatric settings, for over 28 years. Renee's philosophical approach to music therapy is as follows:
 
"Music creates an environment which feels...
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