It’s time to get to know Joe
Why did you choose to study music therapy?
When I was seven years old my father fell off his push bike on his way to work, suffering a small head injury with fluid on his brain. Over the next decade his cognitive health continued to decline though, until he was diagnosed with early onset dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
My family cared for dad as he continued to lose functioning. We found that music was an essential part of creating a relaxed atmosphere where he could settle. Despite a history of anxiety, which was exacerbated by dementia, putting on CDs of music from his youth made him completely calm, as well as suddenly cheerful and cognisant.
What is your favourite part about being an RMT?
I think getting to play and create music in your day job is every thirteen year old’s dream. While working with the people that we work with is also a huge privilege, the mutual excitement and love of music is what makes those relationships have something worth having. I love that I can share the thing that I have engrossed myself in my whole life, and that it is possible to do that in a way which brings meaning to others.
Most challenging part of the job so far?
I think the most challenging thing about music therapy is it straddles the line between art and science. You have to hold creativity and transcendence in one hand while juggling methodical measurements in the other.
How many instruments do you play?
I can play piano, guitar, bass guitar, drums, saxophone and I can sing, and once managed to get some notes out on the flute and clarinet. I think part of being a music therapist is recognising that you can have a meaningful relationship playing a shaker – it’s not all about having technical skills.
Is there a particular instrument you want to learn and why?
I’m trying to learn the violin at the moment, or at least pretending to try. I can play some woodwind and percussion instruments already, and brass instruments make my lips feel weird, so that just leaves string instruments to conquer.
Who is your favourite musician/band and why?
It’s so hard to pick just one. Some of my long-time loves are The Beatles, The Cat Empire and Radiohead. In the past couple of years though band’s like Half Moon Run, Alt-J and Gnarles Barkley have dominated my iTunes. At the moment I’m listening to We Slept At Last
by Marika Hackman and the pre-releases of Odette’s debut album.