Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 16th 2017 Contents B38 sunday arts
guardian.co.tt Sunday, July 16, 2017
Music therapy is a proven clinical inter-
vention practiced throughout the modern
world. It is provided to clients in hospitals,
special needs and mainstream schools and
in secure prisons.
What’s the difference between teaching music
and providing music therapy?
For one, the theoretical background is fun-
damentally different. A music therapist needs a
high level of musicianship, specialist postgraduate
training and practice in order to be successful in
his or her work.
Music therapy is based upon non-verbal com-
munication. Therapists use the qualities of mu-
sic—rhythm, pitch and melody—to access con-
scious and unconscious processes in the client.
Music therapy can bring up memories and provide
structure and orientation supporting clients to be
more aware of the here and now. These processes
enable vulnerable people to take a closer look at
their internal turbulences and trauma within a safe
and trusting environment.
Music therapy uses tuned and untuned in-
struments, songwriting, pre-composed music,
and free improvisation similar to free associa-
tion. Moreover, music therapists use their main
instrument—in my case, steelpan—to effectively
communicate musically with their clients. You’ll
find many music therapists in developed countries
using conventional orchestral musical instruments
such as piano, oboe, guitar, harp, violin or trumpet.
Nevertheless, there is a growing need to under-
stand the impact of non-conventional musical
instruments such as the accordion and steelpan.
Within the public sector music therapy is of-
fered mainly at the St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospi-
tal. Doctors may refer a client for music therapy
for a number of reasons: for example, if a client
struggles with interacting positively with others,
or if pharmacotherapy is not fully assisting with
the management of their emotions and feelings.
Music therapy may further assist clients with
their psychotic symptoms, to improve their poor
impulse control or dealing with the loss of a love
one or a traumatic event.
I have worked with a client I will now like to call
Billy. He gave his written consent that I can share
his story for awareness.
Billy was in his mid-20s and had been diagnosed
with a personality disorder and possible psychosis.
Billy was afraid when left on his own or in silence
and often felt desperate. He also had suicidal idea-
tion. Billy was very musical. He attended ten weekly
45-minute individual music therapy sessions. The
sessions aimed to build his confidence, enhance
his self-esteem and provide useful insights for
analysis through improvisations and discussions.
During the sessions, Billy and I interacted mu-
sically and verbally. For example, we used free
improvisation to access feelings and memories.
Increasingly, his congruence, body movements and
eye contact with me demonstrated trust. Happily,
he was able to reflect upon his earlier life in an
In the following column, I will tell you more
about needs of clients groups focusing upon
benefits of music therapy for clients who have
experienced domestic violence and abuse.
vs music therapy
Lovelace in Paris
Ninth Floor, a documentary produced by T&T/
Canadian Selwyn Jacob, returns to T&T screens
this week at the Centre for Language Learning,
UWI, St Augustine.
Ninth Floor examines the pivotal Sir George Wil-
liams University riot of February 1969, when six
Caribbean students mounted a protest against in-
stitutional racism. It would snowball into 14 days
of chaos and violence, with riot police storming the
occupied ninth floor and a storm of computer cards
raining down onto the streets below.
The film—which uses never-before-seen footage
of the students’ protest and occupation of the ninth
floor computer room, as well as interviews with stu-
dents involved, including the late Valerie Belgrave—
was chosen as one of Canada’s top ten films by the
Toronto International Film Festival and screened in
the T&T Film Festival (TTFF) last year.
The free screening is presented by the TTFF in
partnership with the Department of Cultural Stud-
ies, UWI. Jacob will be present for the Q&A at the
screening, which takes place on July 20 at 5.30 pm.
Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Dr Nyan Gadsby-
Dolly admires a necklace during a walk-through of the booths at the ministry’s
Handicraft Symposium Craft and the Economy—Towards Diversification and
Development, July 11 at the Hilton Trinidad, Port-of-Spain. In the symposium’s
opening remarks, Gadsby-Dolly said the ministry intended to launch a craft
market at its office in St Ann’s in the next few months, and would also develop
and distribute a handicraft directory.
PHOTO COURTESY MINISTRY OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, CULTURE AND THE ARTS
A BOOST FOR CRAFT
T&T artist Che Lovelace’s solo exhibition at the Eric Hussenot Gallery in Paris closes July 22. If you can’t get there by then, don’t
despair: French arts website Le Figaro has put up a virtual tour of the show (find it at: tinyurl.com/lovelacetour). Lovelace’s show of
his large-scale paintings, described by the gallery as “strongly rooted in the cultural and natural environment” of his homeland,
opened on June 10. In the photo above, Lovelace, fourth from left, poses with guests at the opening, including T&T/ French designer
Lupe Leonard, extreme left, and T&T/UK poet and musician Anthony Joseph, third from left. PHOTO COURTESY CHE LOVELACE
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