This year has seen an increased and varied engagement in the music therapy program at Sunnyhaven.
Over the course of the year there have been major and minor changes in the program. The year started out as normal, weekly individually focussed music therapy sessions followed by a group therapy session where participants could share their skills and work on social goals in a musical setting.
As the year progressed, the group began writing ‘wash your hands’ songs which were focussed on hand hygiene and used keyword sign as well as vocal lyrics. This turned out to be a sign of things to come. There was a hiatus on music therapy sessions until March due to stang changes and COVID. When sessions returned, we continued the same program of individual sessions followed by a group session. These sessions all took place on Zoom. While there were fewer people who chose to take part, it was good to continue engagement in music therapy for those participants who wished to join in. I would especially like to thank Sunnyhaven for the forethought of continuing music therapy throughout COVID as music therapy has an enormous impact on client wellbeing. On the following page is a screenshot from a group music therapy session.
When returning to face-to-face sessions, the program changed slightly. The large group concert was replaced by smaller ‘band’ sessions in addition to individual sessions. This was done to promote group interaction without the use of shared microphones (to avoid cross contamination). Group sessions have proved to support social interactions across Sunnyhaven and assist in participants sharing their own musical voice and developing new friendships.
In addition to this, carers have been instrumental in assisting with setting up an outdoor musical instrument space. While we have made large scale group instruments before, I believe that transforming some outdoor spaces into interactive multisensory environments is important both aesthetically and in an ongoing community support capacity.
Clients have worked with me, carers and music therapy students to begin building a pipe xylophone to add to the already made wind harp.
While I am sure that there will continue to be more changes in the music therapy program at Sunnyhaven in 2021, this year has proved to be successful, joyous and musical for all involved.