Music Therapy

Today we were lucky enough to have a visit from Soundwell Music Therapy Trust. If you would know to know a bit more about what music therapy is, Soundwell have some great information just here.

Hannah and Ellie arrived and spent some time setting up a large range of musical instruments, ensuring they were easily accessible to our group members.

The session started with Hannah and Ellie introducing themselves and explaining what Soundwell does. They explained that they worked with adults with mental health needs in the South West area and that they provided a confidental space with no pressure.

Group members were invited to explore the wide variety of musical instruments, many of which were unfamiliar, in order to test out the range of sounds possible. This was facilitated by the the careful positioning of beaters with instruments that may need them and the retuning of one of the acoustic guitars so that it could be strummed to make a pleasant sound without worrying about using the fingerboard.

After a few minutes of experimentation, everyone selected an instrument that appealed to them and one by one joined in to build up a landscape of sounds that gently meandered about without any hurry. When this first piece came to a natural end, the group talked about how the music had felt. Everyone found this piece relaxing and described how it sounded “atmospheric” and like a tropical beach with waves breaking on the shore.

For the second piece, everyone swapped instruments and started together. The music was louder this time as more people went for the drums and sounded more purposeful and urgent than the last piece. Hannah and Ellie kept the composition on track with their own tuneful and rhythmic contributions, providing a nice foundation for others to join in with their own sounds. As the piece progressed, Hannah and Ellie decreased their volume to be replaced by the group members who were growing in confidence by this point.

As drums seemed popular, the next activity was tailored accordingly. Everyone was encouraged to try a drum and together create a ‘wedge’ shape of music, starting off very quietly and building in volume and strength to a thicker, wider sound. The piece this time became pretty loud and intense building to a crescendo then dropping away slightly to build back up again. The group agreed afterwards that this music made them feel “energised”.

Hannah and Ellie consulted with the group as to where they would like to go next with the music. People wanted to stick with something energising and this time there was a more hesitant start as a few people had to leave for the school run, but as the sound built up the confidence soon grew again. The sounds became cohesive and built up making a directional flow of music as people started to mirror each other. Afterwards it was agreed that this piece sounded like a journey.

For the final activity, the group was asked to decide on a particular feeling they would like to leave the session with. The discussion revolved around ‘Friday 5pm’ and how this was a nice time as week time responsibilities would melt away and a state of relaxation could be reached. The music for this piece meandered along calmly much like the first one but without the beachy vibe. Bearing in mind the shedding of burdens theme, the sounds of the instruments brought a feeling of something being gradually let go like trees gently dropping their leaves ready for a Winter rest.

The session was very enjoyable and absolutely no pressure was put on anyone to do anything they didn’t feel comfortable with. We really look forward to welcoming Soundwell for another visit in the future and highly recommend them.