What is Clinical Music Intervention?
Clinical music intervention is a music education-based approach to health and well-being. Focussing on the associated benefits of music, this psychological intervention uses the elements of specialist music education approaches to promote interaction. A person-centred approach helps to develop the relationship. Clinical music interventionists deliver treatment programs to return lifestyle balance by carefully structuring specialist music education activities. Relationships develop between the interventionist and group; musical skills develop and improve within the group; mood improves; social and personal confidence increases; positive feelings last for hours after the last session. Clinical music interventionists are skilled in attentive and responsive listening. Their unique interactions enable people of all ages and abilities to participate in their own musical way.
The aims of music health intervention are neither educational nor musical; participants do not have to be able to sing, dance or play an instrument to benefit from clinical music intervention. Clinical music interventionists work on restoring self-confidence, balance and well-being by developing social, emotional, and communication skills.
How does it work?
Clinical music interventionists informally assess the participants for their current confidence, interests and ability levels. They may bring a pre-selected sample song list with percussion instruments or song sheets to use as a starting off point. Participants are free to move, sing or play musical instruments within the session. There is no right or wrong way of being involved. The interventionist supports participants in exploring their interests and needs in a way that is meaningful to them. Through this exploration, a means of communication is developed.
Computers and music technology can also be used to help participants to access sound and music making. Our interactive all allows participants to select their own songs, and mix and match different musical styles. Using this equipment can be motivating and engaging for certain clients, as it offers contemporary sounds, and can also directly address cognitive needs. Music technology can also be used to record songs that have been worked on in sessions. For some participants, songwriting will address emotional and psychological problems very effectively, while for others, free improvisation may be more appropriate.
Who can it help?
People with mental health difficulties:
Clinical music intervention is an effective alternative to more standard forms of counselling, CBT and psychotherapy. It is well suited to groups who find it difficult to connect, express or differentiate between their emotions, or who find it difficult to communicate generally The opportunity to move, sing or play instruments can be a free and safe experience. This can reduce stress, frustration and tension, while improving emotional wellbeing.
People with neurological difficulties:
Music is processed in many parts of the brain, which makes it an excellent tool for people living with an acquired brain injury or a neuro-degenerative condition such as dementia or Parkinson’s disease. Group programmes can work towards neuro-rehabilitation and improve quality of life. This can be achieved through using music to compensate for losses, encourage emotional expression, engage in social interaction and potentially regain skill and function, for example speech, movement, cognition.
People with social and communication disorders:
Clinical music intervention is based on participants and interventionists sharing a musical space. This can be a helpful way to restore and renew interactive relationship in a safe and nonintrusive environment. Music provides an added form of communication, reaching people in ways that they may not manage usually, whether verbal or non-verbal. The creativity within music allows participants to engage in a naturally creative, imaginative process, helping to break down rigid thought and behaviour patterns.
People with learning disabilities:
Clinical music intervention provides a unique method of communicating with all people, especially those with limited expressive or receptive communication skills. Regular engagement in music making at the client’s pace can have a great impact on communication skills, social awareness, emotional well-being, cognitive function and coordination.
People with multisensory impairment:
Music involves not only ideas, sounds and words, but also the physics of vibration and motion. Participants with complex, profound and multiple learning disabilities, hearing impairment, multi-sensory impairment or who are deafblind, can access music health interventions at their own level and pace.