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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To Aspiring Music Therapists: Your Journey Begins Now

Oct 02, 2018
Author: Zachary Brown, High School Student

If you are an aspiring music therapist, then your journey begins now.
          The road to becoming a music therapist has to start before you graduate, get accepted, and even before you apply to your program. For me, my journey began this summer before I entered grade twelve when I discovered music therapy. I have played, and loved music all my life,starting with violin at the age of 3 and expanding to self-taught piano as well as other instruments. Music has continued to grow as one of my biggest passions. When I discovered that I could use my passion for music to help people, I was all in. Being able to positively influence the trajectory of someone’s life is a huge honour and another passion of mine. Being able to combine these two passions got me extremely interested in music therapy.

          As soon as I became interested in music therapy, I switched my mind set from...
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OMTA Talks Music Therapy & Wellness on 900 CHML

May 22, 2018

On May 20th, 2018, the OMTA’s Founder & Director of Education, Rachael Finnerty, was interviewed on 900 CHML's “The Health and Wellness Show”.  In this interview a variety of music therapy's benefits are discussed. Emphasis is placed on how to maintain and improve health & wellness across the lifespan. The conversation also includes what training is required to become a music therapist, and how professionals can work collaboratively to reach healthcare goals using music. Music is promoted as an accessible medium that offers POSITIVE experiences, detached from the stigma that often surrounds seeking or receiving mental health help. 

Listen to the interview here! 

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An Enriching Start to 2018!

Feb 05, 2018
On Saturday January 13th, 2018 the Ontario Music Therapy Academy held a workshop entitled, 'Music and Neuroscience: New Approaches in Neurorehabilitation'.
There is much interest in this topic in the music therapy field and healthcare as a whole, which was evident in the variance and amount of attendees at the workshop. Professionals including music therapists, recreation therapists, speech-language pathologists, and more, came to learn from Brian Harris, CEO of MedRhythms and Neurologic Music Therapist. Brian began the workshop by discussing some basic neuroscience principles, such as: global activation, neuroplasticity, and entrainment. He then explained how music works with these principles and how it literally changes how the brain functions. Brian proceeded to break music down into 4 objective cues: melodic, harmonic, rhythmic, and force. We spoke further about rhythm and how it needs to be present and strong when utilizing NMT techniques as it elicits the...
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Jan 08, 2018
2017 has been an exciting year, as we launched the first workshops through the Ontario Music Therapy Academy. Our last workshop of 2017 was facilitated by Registered Psychotherapist, Credentialed Music Therapist, Kristen Anderson. The workshop focused on participants exploring the 'voice in practice'. The workshop began with warming up our vocal cords by sighing, yawning, and humming. We utilized humming as a way to find our tonal centre and to stimulate the vagus nerve in order to increase vagal tone - concepts we enjoyed touching upon throughout the workshop.
Later in the workshop, Kristen lead us through the various expressions of our voice and how they can represent as defence mechanisms and how to identify these defences in our clients in a therapeutic setting.

The workshop concluded with experiential learning where participants engaged in an example of Dr. Diane's Vocal Psychotherapy techniques. The example showed how through the Vocal Psychotherapy training, one...

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OMTA's First Workshop

Sep 19, 2017
With much anticipation, the OMTA held our first professional development workshop last weekend. 'The Psychotherapy of Music Therapy' workshop facilitated by Sherry Campbell and Rachael Finnerty took place at the YWCA in downtown Toronto. The heritage doors at the YWCA entrance were a beautiful contrast to the modern facility indoors. 
Nancy's Auditorium was a wonderful space to hold our first workshop. More-so, it was an optimal weekend to be in Toronto, immersed in the summery weather as the Toronto International Film Festival was concluding with it's last films and events of the year. We hope our registrants who came from farther away were able to enjoy the city after the conclusion of the workshop at 12:00pm. 
The workshop began with some coffee, tea, bagels, muffins, and fruit. Beverages and snacks continued to be enjoyed throughout and especially during our brief break to stretch and refocus. 
 As Sherry Campbell and...
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