At TCG (Think Cre8tive Group!), we have seen all sorts of people respond to music, so to start, we have chosen to focus on early years (new babies) and older years (‘recycled teenagers!’). This means that we currently run (mainly) funded sessions for mums and babies groups, care and residential home choirs, and intergenerational groups.
We know that work is being done in different areas of health, so are developing our expertise in lung disease, chronic conditions and neurological disorders, to be rolled out in the future. However, despite the age differences, lifestyle preferences and states of health, people are still people. We all have personal preferences, made up from our own worries, joys and even our own sense of humour. So TCG personalises sessions to suit each group.
The directors on the TCG board are multi-skilled specialists. Through both qualifications and working experience, we have come from the education, music and health sectors. This means that we have training in developmental psychology, sociology and medicine as well as music. Most directors are also trained to master’s level, so that they have research training, too. When you book a session, this expertise comes included.
Before we start a project, even before we write a grant application, we consider the evidence of music with particular groups of people that we have identified. Sometimes there is little research available, and sometimes it is overwhelming. Where there is little evidence, sometimes our work mean that we are actually creating new evidence!
Every session is person-centred. This means that we greet each person attending, and follow the interest and the experience of the people in the group so that we can be responsive to individual needs. While we prepare for every session, every plan is subject to change!
Every session involves musical development at some level. From warm ups to including pentatonic songs (songs with five anhemitonic notes, often found in folk music), we may include familiar and new music, songs in rounds, and instrumental percussion play.
Every session is evaluated immediately afterwards. Sometimes this is in the form of a video diary, or else it is discussed and written into our evaluation notes. We evaluate individual/group response, skill development, unexpected incidents and staff involvement, to name a few criteria, as these all have an impact on whether or not the session is effective.
Whilst our work can be therapeutic, we do not identify with the psychotherapy aspect of music therapists, and adhere more to the biopsychosocial approach to healthcare. However, we bring more to the sessions than pure entertainment, so we consider ourselves music interventionists.