The healing power of music therapy is well known. In her beautiful book Music Medicine, music therapist Christine Stevens writes of how a disabled boy in Africa sways to the beat of the drums, temporarily forgetting his disability. It’s only when the music stops that his leg goes numb again. Also read why children need good music.
- Tales from the Music Therapy Room is a book that brings to life the power of healing from music. A collaboration of New Zealand music therapists, it invites readers to share their encounters through short stories, poetry and personal reflections. Grounded in clinical practice, each piece of writing is thoughtful and touching, with beautiful illustrations to appeal to practitioners, clients and students.
- Nordic Robbins is an independent music therapy charity, using music to enrich the lives of people with life-limiting illness, disability and feelings of isolation. Working in schools, care homes, mental health facilities, neuro-rehab centres and hospices, 92% of recipients say music therapy has improved their quality of life, and 95% say it has improved their communication skills.
- Music & Memory is a charity that takes donated unwanted iPads, and gives them to dementia patients. Often music from the past is the only thing to trigger happy memories.
- Playing for Change is a worldwide organisation, which hopes to bring world peace, through the power of music. It links up musicians virtually from across the world to create wonderful music, and also works extensively in developing countries.
- Got some music talent, and fancy a career change? You can train to become a music therapist at several universities. Nordic Robbins offer post-graduate courses at London, Manchester and Newcastle. The 2-year course is recognised internationally.
- The Bravest Man in the World is the true story of Mar Wallace Hartley, a musician on the fated Titanic ship that struck an iceberg. As he watched others get put on lifeboats, Mr Hartley and his band continued to bravely play music, to calm the remaining crew and passengers.
Donate Unwanted Musical Instruments
Got musical instruments lying around the house? You can donate them to Sistema England, where they are used to give to children in need, who would like to learn to play. They accept fully playable strings, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments, ready for new musical journeys.
If you are buying musical instruments, there are a few things to look out for. Avoid strings (used in violins and harps) made from animal gut (you can buy asynthetic violin strings and synthetic harp strings). Check before purchase that animal skins are not used for drums or bodhrans (Irish drums). Piano keys should no longer be made from ivory or bone, but secondhand ones probably are. Also check items are free from animal glue and leather (harmonicas sometimes use it). There are animal-friendly alternatives for all of these.
I’m playing all the right notes – but not necessarily in the right order. Eric Morecambe (to conductor André Previn)
Donate iPods to Dementia Patients
Donate unwanted iPods to help dementia patients. Music is often the last connection with the outside world, for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related illness. By donating unwanted iPods that are just clogging up your drawers, you can clear some clutter, and give someone a new lease of life, so that they can enjoy good music from their past, using modern technology.
Chiltern Music Therapy has also developed the first iPod Pharmacy. This initiative takes unwanted MP3 players, and cleans them up, before loading with tailored music to help stimulate, soothe & engage patients. This enables to take someone’s mind off their treatment, pain or environment, allowing themselves to get lost in favourite music.
Music is a therapy. it is a communication far more powerful than words, far more immediate, far more efficient. Yehudi Menuhin
How to Play the Piano can teach you how to play Bach’s Prelude No 1 in C Major in 6 weeks. James Rhodes shows how to do this in 45 minutes practice a day for anyone with two hands, a piano or an electric keyboard. Even if you know nothing about music and have never touched a piano before. It’s never too late by breaking it up into small segments and teaching you how to read music, the difference between the treble and bass clef, sharp and flat notes and how to practice.