The Calm Before The Music
December 14, 2021
‘The Calm before the Music’
by Jenny Capstick, Music Therapist, MusAbility
As a Music Therapist, I often ponder about the session ahead. Whilst driving to a client’s home, walking down a hallway, or waiting in a therapy room for my client to arrive. I ask myself questions such as “What will there be? Will there be sound? What will we do in the silence? Will we recognise when to start, stop and continue? Will we connect in the music? Does this stuff really work!?”
We can never know what the future holds, though as creative psychotherapists, I believe we can attune to the multiple possibilities, so we are ready to connect, react, and ground whatever comes our way.
It is important for a therapist to know how they react with control, power, loss, change, and sharing.
I am neurodiverse, as are many of my clients, each in our individual way. You may notice my neurodiversity through my writing style! My mind does not think in a linear sense. It will not be taken down a straight path without wondering “what is behind that tree to the left?”. Relatively, in my professional work, I am always looking to pull out the grey, question, and shake things up a little. Contrastingly, my clients may enjoy and find comfort in routine, linearity, and pre-emptive organisation.
Preparing for a music therapy session, I find it necessary to prepare for the grey, the unknown, and the mess. This allows me to pre-empt how the music may look and grow in a safe, grounded relationship between client and therapist. Therefore, when the music comes, we can simply acknowledge the shape and colour.
When preparing the therapy room, I must consider my client’s preferences, anxieties, comforts…
“How will I set up the instruments?”
“Where did the piano sit last session?”
“Do I have a clear story board ready?”
(“where are the egg timers?!”).
We cannot pre-empt every event.
The bus may be late.
Our friend may forget about our coffee date.
Our Brother may not lock the front door.
When preparing the therapy room for the music ahead, we must ask ourselves, “will there be something unexpected?” = Of course!! We must remind ourselves every time… THIS IS OK. If we prepare and reflect well, we are better equipped for the moments something out of the ordinary happens. We go through the motions together, though as the therapist, we can provide the grounding element where our client may struggle to stay rooted. We model how to flow with the waves and cope with the highs and lows. We are the anchor when the storm takes hold….
If we prepare to panic, where would our client land in the unexpected?
- The Calm Before The Music
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What our friends say about us
We use MusAbility for several of our clients who are currently, and have previously been through the medical negligence court system. MusAbility’s services are not only professional, timely and evidence-based in their clinical assessments, but the clients also show real developments in long-term work where many other health professionals declared none were possible. A truly inspirational team.
Medical Negligence Lawyer
Not only can we see the clear changes in behaviour for the children that attend music therapy…but it’s giving the staff new skills and techniques to work with the children that need a little extra support. Just brilliant.
Classroom Teacher, Mainstream School
It is absolutely fascinating to see how this child responds in music therapy…to be surrounded by verbal interaction, then be met in an environment when words are sometimes not used at all…it is incredibly impactive. I think it should be available to every child!
Support Assistant in Mainstream School
I have honestly never seen anything like it…music therapy reaches this child at such a profound level, we are in tears of joy every session, and their development visibly increases week to week.
Teaching Assistant, Specialist School
Some of the children in our school are that bit older…and they really struggle to engage both in the classroom and with staff on a 1:1 basis. Music therapy breaks down all boundaries. They love the sessions, and they think it’s so ‘cool’ that they are pushed to reach their potential…sometimes without even realising it!
Deputy Head Teacher, School for Children with Special Needs
Our music therapist is an integral part of our team. Not only do they engage clinically with the clients, but they also liaise with staff within the multi-disciplinary team…most importantly always putting the client first. We absolutely could not do without music therapy…and our clients wouldn’t allow it!