Also written by Elephant Publicity
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With a week’s worth of events, Music Therapy New Zealand’s annual awareness campaign will run from October 20-28 to draw attention to the life-changing affect of music therapy and the support services available in New Zealand. Practitioners and clients will participate in performances, social gatherings, and public workshops in a celebration of this growing practice across Aotearoa, centered on the theme of ‘Spring Into Music Therapy’.
A relatively new style of therapy in New Zealand, music therapy has proved to have significant benefits for clients who struggle with communication, particularly those on the autistic spectrum and others with neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s, Aphasia, and Stroke. Music therapy can be beneficial to all people, but it has had particularly measurable results for the elderly who struggle with Alzheimers and Dementia, along with assisting young people with cognitive and learning functions. Due to the wide-ranging benefits of the practice, music therapy has found a place in both the health and education sectors, and is increasingly being used to assist in mindfulness and stress relief, as well as providing support for those suffering the consequences of trauma, separation, abuse, and grief.
Timed for spring as a season of change, the intention of Music Therapy Week 2018 is to entice passionate people who want to make an active difference in people’s lives to train as music therapists, as well as encourage people who may benefit from music therapy to give it a go. Music therapists use the extraordinary qualities of music in a shared relationship with their clients, to meet personal needs, support learning, and promote healing and change.
Megan Berentson-Glass, a registered music therapist in Wellington, is looking forward to the 2018 campaign and being able to share more widely what they do. “We work with such a diverse range of people, using music as our tool to facilitate health and well-being,” she said. “We really hope Music Therapy Week 2018 enables us to reach even more people across our local communities, and to share some of the exciting and inspiring stories from music therapy.”
A growing field in academia internationally, a new global study led by the University of Melbourne is examining the potential in music as medicine to treat people with dementia and depression. The study is currently underway and is finding that music therapy may be a revolution for health treatments: “From alleviating the symptoms of depression to enabling genuine reconnection with community - music therapy is giving some a chance to rediscover what has been taken; the person behind the dementia.”
Despite its known benefits, music therapy is still a developing practice, with a lack of awareness being a big obstacle facing the industry in Aotearoa. New Zealand Registered Music Therapists (NZ RMTh) are highly trained and hold current practicing certificates, ensuring best practice and safety for their clients. Music Therapy Week opens this specialised practice up to the public, with the 2018 programme offering a selection of free performances and events to raise the profile of this innovative type of treatment. Therapists and clients in the main centres will offer performances – the CeleBRation Choir and the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre will be in action in Auckland, while Wellington’s SoundsWell Singers Neurological Choir present a fundraising concert and Christchurch’s Cantabrainers Choir host an Open Day. Workshops across the country will also be open, such as therapist Sidharth Pagad demonstrating West African drumming rhythms, and discussing how they can be used in groups.
Music Therapy Week is proudly supported by the Hugo Charitable Trust
View details of all Music Therapy Week events at musictherapy.org.nz