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First Impressions

longtermcare Mar 06, 2019

My name is Zachary Brown, I am a grade 12 student at Sir John A. MacDonald secondary school, and an aspiring music therapist. Earlier this week I got my first impression of what music therapy in action looks like.

This week I had the incredible opportunity to volunteer at a longterm care facility in Hamilton, Ontario. The music therapist at the long term care facility, graciously allowed me to shadow her as she ran a group session with 10 of the residents. As Laura sang and played her guitar for the residents, they joined in with percussion instruments, their voices, and many smiles. As Laura engaged each resident with a song that they helped her choose specifically for them, the mood lightened. I saw music therapy bring joy to people who needed it. Maybe it was due to the excitement of having a song played just for them, or the accomplishment of being able to sing and play along.

My first of impression of music therapy in action filled me with excitement, although it does not seem free of challenges. Senior’s homes can be full of sickness and sadness no matter how many incredible staff and volunteers are available. It can be much harder to bring happiness there as opposed to a somewhere like a preschool, but it is just as important. I respect Laura for her ability to engage those residents that were dozing off, or bring a smile to the faces of those who didn’t have one. One day, whether it’s with seniors or with a different demographic, I hope to be able to produce such a space of joy on my own one day.

As far as first impressions go, I couldn’t ask for anything more! I’ve become even more inspired and sure that music therapy is the path I want to follow. I’m very excited to go back to long term care facility and experience some one on one music therapy, as well as watch music and physiotherapy work together. My journey began with my discovery of music therapy, and has blessed me with an incredible first impression.