Interactive Music Therapy: A Positive Approach : Music Therapy at a Child Development Centre

Interactive Music Therapy: A Positive Approach : Music Therapy at a Child Development Centre

Interactive Music Therapy: A Positive Approach : Music Therapy at a Child Development Centre

Interactive Music Therapy: A Positive Approach : Music Therapy at a Child Development Centre

Synopsis

The interactive music therapy approach to working with children establishes a constructive musical dialogue, facilitating communication in children and families who usually find this process very difficult. In this practical and accessible guide. Amelia Oldfield describes the eight points central to this method of working: the motivating aspect of music therapy sessions, the structure inherent in sessions and in music making, the balance between following and initiating, the basic non-verbal exchanges, the fact that children can be in control in a constructive way, movement combined with music, playfulness and drama in music, working jointly with parents.

Excerpt

Five years ago I had very little idea of what music therapy actually meant. For most of my professional life I had worked with children with special needs in child development centres up and down the country, and I had never met a music therapist.

There were, of course, references to music therapy in the medical literature, usually as part of a long list of therapies used in this or that particular approach to a specific disability, but I had never stopped to think about what it involved or what it was supposed to achieve.

All this changed when I started to work at the Child Development Centre in Cambridge.

I remember arriving at the Centre one day, for a lunchtime academic meeting, and being surprised by music and sounds coming from behind one of the closed doors around the waiting area. Paying more attention I heard musical noises, as if someone was tuning different instruments. These were intermingled with singing, laughing and fragments of lovely clarinet or piano melodies. My perplexed questioning was greeted with a matter of fact reply from the ladies in reception: 'Oh, it's just music therapy!'

My intense curiosity about what was actually happening behind the door, in that magical world of music and sound, was soon to be satisfied when I met Amelia, who often joined the rest of the team for the lunchtime meeting. Over a period of time, and with her usual, indefatigable enthusiasm, she introduced me to this new and exciting field. She was always ready to tell me about her work, answer all my questions and also provide me with videos and reading references.

As time went on my understanding of the importance and benefits of music therapy became more apparent. This happened through joint practice since many of the children I was following in the clinics were also having music therapy, but also from the positive feedback and enthusiastic comments from parents.

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