It’s time to get to know Alex
Why did you choose to study music therapy?
While in high school, my music teacher discussed future jobs and areas that involve music, this is where I first heard the words ‘Music Therapy’. I always had a passion for assisting others wherever I could and my teachers brief description of music therapy seemed to tick those boxes, and I could put my musical skills to use.
I did some research online and discovered the Nordoff Robins Centre /Golden stave at WSU Kingswood. After some discussions I was accepted as a volunteer. I spent some weeks sorting through paper work and observing some sessions, eventually I was welcomed into a session. The client was an older female who was deaf and blind, sitting in a wheel chair with minimal verbal communication. The female music therapist at the time would use a drum to create vibrations and place it over various limbs of the client. From someone who has never experienced therapy before let alone music therapy I was incaptulated by this practise. The Music therapist took the clients hand and placed it on her throat and sang, this creating smiles and I’m assuming joyful nosies from the client. I had the opportunity to take the clients hand and place it on my throat and sing too, this created a contrasting vibration/feel for the client and a similar heightened experience of joy, as the client hadn’t felt a male vocal chord before. The reaction and moment myself and the music therapist created for this client was a new experience that I wanted to create again and again, this was the moment I wanted to study and become a music therapist.
What is your favourite part about being an RMT?
Only recently I have discovered my favourite part as an RMT, the overwhelming feeling of genuine joy and fulfilment when a client has achieved. A client has only recently managed to overcome a hurdle we have been working with and overcoming for five months. Seeing this client carry out this task and continue to develop his skills while having his family and myself witness this for the first time was something that would be considered one of the highest ‘perks’ of the job.
Most challenging part of the job so far?
Developing the skills to sit back and ‘go with the flow’ with a client. As a new grad there was the urge to always do something within a session, feeling to need to interact and make music with the client. Taking a step back and allowing the client to express or explore with no assistance from myself was something I had to learn and have continued to use with multiple clients.
How many instruments do you play?
My main instrument is the piano, I also play guitar and sing. My skills as a basic drummer and a class leading djembe player have only been discovered over the past couple of years while on practical placements and now at work.
Is there a particular instrument you want to learn and why?
The fine art of the harmonica is something I have always wanted to learn, also the saxophone. I am grateful that there are keyboards that can create both harmonica and saxophone sounds.
Who is your favourite musician/band and why?
Almost crying and screaming like a fan girl when Elton John makes a surprise appearance at the Ed Sheeran concert would confirm my favourite musician/diva. The majority of my piano playing style is styled off Eltons playing, an inspirational musician for myself.