Tŷ Aberdafen service users benefit from weekly music therapy sessions funded for by the National Lottery Awards for All scheme.
The service in Llanelli is visited by Lucie, a music therapist from Nordoff Robbins. Here, she shares how the group sessions in the afternoons help to support the service users and their rehabilitation goals.
Every Tuesday at 2:30pm, the halls of Ty Aberdafen are filled with music, as our music therapy group comes together in creative, participatory music-making. Our beneficiaries play a range of instruments and we use improvisation and songs to engage people according to their needs and preferences.
The group has been going for just over a year now and there’s such a feeling of community as we share in a common interest that everyone is part of – whether they are playing an instrument, singing or simply listening. The flexibility of live music-making means that our beneficiaries can take part in their own unique way, as they are given the space and time they need to respond however they wish, something that’s not always possible when listening to recorded music.
For some group members, lifting a stick to play a drum or controlling their breath to produce a vocal sound is an enormous task, but the live musical experience can provide the motivation to do this in their own time. Every response is reacted to and celebrated musically, to encourage beneficiaries’ contributions and to value each sound and movement as meaningful and communicative.
As our sessions have progressed, a sense of shared awareness has grown between group members. By taking solo turns, beneficiaries can hear their unique and individual musical contributions, as well as how this affects and enhances the collective music of the group. In this way, they can build relationships and demonstrate their understanding of social situations, recognising each other’s triumphs and respecting the need for moments of stillness and reflection. Varying the speed or the volume of the music allows group members to be expressive in a way that doesn’t rely on words, meaning that music gives them a different way of connecting to those around them.
It is often a time filled with much joy and laughter, as the group offers a space to support rehabilitation goals in an interactive, free and creative way.
Credit: Lucie Phillips, Nordoff Robbins