A Minute with Chanelle
Why did you choose to study music therapy?
In high school, I did a research project on music education methods and decided I wanted to be an early childhood music teacher. I studied a Bachelor of Music Education and although I really enjoyed it, I found myself less interested in teaching songs and marking assignments, and more interested in how I could use music in primary school and preschool to teach other things like social inclusion, expressing emotion, or even cultural awareness. Of course, you can do all those things in education and many people do it wonderfully, but I just felt like music teaching wasn’t quite ‘right’ for me. My last assignment submitted in that degree was called “Music Therapy and Music Education: Similarities and Differences”.
I never ended up teaching in a school, and instead worked in learning support and then early childhood music. The more I heard about music therapy, the more I realised it was what I had really wanted to do the whole time!
What is your favourite part about being an RMT?
It’s such a privilege to have a job that means I play music all day! I’ve really enjoyed seeing the difference that music can make in people’s lives. It’s nice when clients bring in their own music that I’m not familiar with, and I get to explore a whole new genre. A client of mine recently brought in a 14th
century Renaissance melody to learn – it’s beautiful!
Most challenging part of the job so far?
Coming from an education background, most of my experience was with children’s songs and activities. I had to work hard to learn repertoire that was more appealing to adults and even teenagers. Before I started the course, my entire repertoire on guitar was based on Playschool and the Wiggles. After finishing my degree and some time in the job, I can safely say that The Beatles, Pharrell Williams and John Williamson are on high rotation in my sessions, to name a few.
How many instruments do you play?
My main instrument is piano, and I also play the saxophone. I play a lot of guitar and ukulele at work and on the weekends I love playing bass. I also play the guitalele which is exactly what it sounds like – halfway between a guitar and a ukulele!
Is there a particular instrument you want to learn and why?
I just got a mandolin and it’s sitting at home waiting to be learned! I’ve tried a few chords but it’s so different from guitar and ukulele. Every string is doubled and it’s tuned differently so it takes a bit of work!
Who is your favourite musician/band and why?
I’m such a big Billy Joel fan that I flew to New York to be at his 100th
show at Madison Square Gardens. It was amazing! I love a lot of 70’s pop, folk and rock, especially the really cheesy stuff. Billy Joel is an incredibly talented musician with so many hits spanning four decades, and I love his lyrics and songwriting.