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Spirit Of Collaboration Alive In Music Therapy Week 2021

Press Release – Elephant Publicity

Advocating for vital therapeutic services and the highly skilled professionals providing them, Music Therapy New Zealand (MThNZ) is proud to confirm their annual awareness campaign will be going ahead this year in a hybrid model. An opportunity to celebrate …

Sophie Sabri, RMTh, working with a group at Evaro, a disability service in Wellington

Advocating for vital therapeutic services and the highly skilled professionals providing them, Music Therapy New Zealand (MThNZ) is proud to confirm their annual awareness campaign will be going ahead this year in a hybrid model. An opportunity to celebrate and showcase the innovative successes of this unique practice in communities right across Aotearoa, Music Therapy Week is running from November 15-19.

As a practice, music therapy is the planned use of music to assist the health and personal growth of people with identified needs. Registered music therapists are highly skilled to work with a diverse range of people, experiences, and conditions – including people with physical and intellectual disabilities, neurological conditions, mental health and mood disorders, and substance abuse issues. The adaptability and versatility of music therapy allows the practice to be applied in a variety of contexts such as schools, community spaces, hospitals, care and supported living facilities, prisons, and within private practices, to support the treatment of a huge range of conditions such as psychosis, schizophrenia, dementia, delirium, depression, and anxiety. In Aotearoa, music therapy is also increasingly being used to assist in general wellbeing, as well as providing support for those living through the challenges of trauma, separation, grief, and end-of-life care.

Experienced NZ RMTh May Clulee, who is based in Christchurch, says the spirit of collaboration and celebrating the diversity of the field is vital to the future of the practice. “This year we focus on whiria ngā tangata – weaving the people together. We come together as many diverse voices with one purpose: to champion potential and wellbeing through the professional practice of music therapy.” In this vein, Music Therapy NZ has embraced Kotahitanga – Many Voices, One Purpose as the theme for this year’s Music Therapy Week. Reaching out around the country, therapists in smaller communities across the motu are being encouraged to host events and open days during the week-long campaign, while those limited by elevated alert level restrictions can engage with the various digital events.

In person events that are open to media include:

Exploring Musical activities in Music Therapy – led by RMTh Neil Jourdan
Prior to the official start of MTW2021, RMThs, music teachers working in early childhood education, and musicians working with young children with special needs are invited to a professional development workshop. The workshop will utilise movement and sensory songs, sensory activities, and ‘non-musical’ apparatus such as bubbles, play parachutes, and fabric.
Saturday 13 November, 10am-1pm
Exact location TBC, Johnsonville, Wellington
Taking place at Alert Level 1 or 2 only

Musicking Together – led by RMTh Sophie Sabri, in collaboration with the Wellington Batucada. 
Musicking Together is a free community music circle run by Sabri from the Evaro community service centre for adults with intellectual disabilities. Each month she collaborates with different musicians or music therapists from the Wellington region. For Music Therapy Week 2021, the community-based Wellington Batucada percussion group brings the flamboyant world of samba drumming from Brazil to Wellington in this public interactive workshop – no musical experience is required, instruments provided
Monday 15 November, 6-7pm.
EVARO, Level 1, James Smith Building, 65 Cuba Street, Wellington – wheelchair accessible.
Taking place at Alert Level 1 only

Music Therapy In Nelson – led by RMThs Colette Jansen & Alvaro Saura Moreno
An informative public session to grow knowledge of what Music Therapy is, how it benefits people, and advocate for Music Therapy in the Nelson region, followed by a morning tea.
Thursday 18 November, 9-10.30am
NCMA (Nelson Centre of Musical Arts), 48 Nile Street, Nelson 
Taking place at Alert Level 1 or 2 only

Kids Disco Party – led by RMTh Ella Polczyk
A disco open to the public, for all – babies right through to young adults – to dance, sing, and have fun! 
Saturday 20 November, 10am – 12pm
Albert Square, 100 Karamu Road South, Hastings 4122
Taking place at Alert Level 1 only 
Digital events and assets with spokespeople available for interview include:

Gordon’s Music Therapy Journey – with RMTh Liz Bolwell
Gordon was referred to a music therapist when care staff discovered he used to play the harmonica. Gordon has dementia, but through using a person-centred approach working with his RMTh, Liz, he is happily recalling his musical memories and enjoying making music with others. Liz and Gordon share their journey together in this webinar.
Monday 15 November, 2pm via Zoom

So You Want to be a Music Therapist? – led by the team at Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust
An Introduction to Music Therapy, this webinar for people interested in MT as a career path including high school and university students as well as working musicians looking to make a career shift. Raukatauri’s therapists will give a virtual tour of their Auckland centre, provide background information on how and where music therapists work, show video and photo examples of music therapy in action, outline the process for training and registration in Aotearoa New Zealand, and answer any questions participants might have.
Thursday 18 November, 6-6.45pm via Facebook Live

Cup of Tea with RMThs – webinar series led by RMTh Shari Storie
To follow the official Music Therapy week, a series of casual Q&A opportunities about specific music therapy practices in a variety of settings will be hosted online. Attendees will be able to ask questions of the expert panellists regarding their personal circumstances, and panellists will be connecting attendees with the best services and therapies for their needs.

  • People living with disabilities – Monday 22 November, 7pm
  • Mental health and wellbeing – Monday 22 November, 8pm
  • People living in aged care and with dementia – Tuesday 23 November, 7.30pm
  • People living in palliative care and at end of life – Tuesday 23 November, 8.15pm
  • People living in neuro-rehabilitation – Wednesday 24 November, 7pm

Body Percussion

– with RMTh Alvaro Saura Moreno

Launch of an instructional YouTube video of techniques and uses of body percussion in music therapy, focused on handclaps inspired by flamenco music of Alvaro’s native Spain

Trauma and Autism

– with RMTh Ella Polczyk

Ella presents a series of short videos about music therapy and how it can help children with trauma and young people with autism from her experience based in the Hawke’s Bay.

Due to the wide-ranging benefits of the practice, music therapy is a growing field around the world with approximately 17,000 qualified music therapists practicing globally, and over 70 people holding current practicing certificates in New Zealand. Music Therapy New Zealand continues to welcome new graduates every year, with experienced international therapists also migrating to Aotearoa from Australia, the UK, Europe, and Asia to strengthen the profession here. Practitioners in Aotearoa are guided by four key values – Life/Ora, Reciprocity/Whanaungatanga, Creativity/Awhatanga, and Professionalism/Te Taumata, promoting overall wellbeing for clients through the use of the highest quality evidence-based ethical practice with integrity and confidence, to foster reciprocal relationships and celebrate vitality.

Linda Webb

MNZM, President of the Music Therapy New Zealand (MThNZ) says

“Music therapy is a relatively new profession in Aotearoa, often seen as the best kept secret. This year’s Music Therapy Week campaign celebrates the positive impact that individuals, groups, and communities experience, especially on health and wellbeing. We hope to share experiences through collaborating with others, and exchange knowledge with the wider community.”

Despite the growing numbers and proven benefits of music therapy, a lack of awareness and understanding limits the impact that this innovative treatment style can have for a diverse range of people and conditions. Music Therapy Week aims to draw in a wider range of public interest and support for this highly specialised and beneficial practice.

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