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Stephen  Fine

Music Therapy

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We've never seriously talked about Music Therapy on the 'board (our last topics on the subject were in 2002 and 2000). It's a relatively new field and I was wondering if any music therapists have joined the 'board.

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I began my career in music therapy in the mid-80s. I would have stayed in the field had I not landed in an outpatient psych clinic where I was doing everything but music therapy. I had wanted to work in a nursing home or senior center. Now, I teach music. My MT background gives me a very different perspective on teaching and, I think, makes me more effective.

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By default I have became involved in music as therapy.

I was asked to entertain at an aged care facility. I only played for a few minutes and I saw faces light up and hands clapp, and some even sang along. I played all the old evergreens and the joy expressed by the listeners made me aware that this was my most valuable performance. I could not have spent my time doing anything more satisfying.

I also teach and regularly take some of my more advanced pupils with me and we entertain at several faciliteis in my home town and another near by. The seniors love the kids performing.

Occupational therapists say I give the seniors something to look forward to and they get involved in what I do and get relief from the physical limitations and worries of growing older.

I also get satisfaction as the joy my music brings, gladdens my heart as well. I am untrained as a MT but I do the job and for free. I love it!

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Stories like yours are so common, Busker. In fact, I was just talking to my mom (who is a lawyer with no musical training whatsoever) about Music Therapy and she told me a story I had never heard before.

When she was a teenager living in Deland, Florida, she worked at a facility for the mentally challenged. One patient (whose condition when described to me sounded like autism) was an eight year old boy who had never spoken before. Though she had no training, over the course of several months she taught him to sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

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