Introducing: Nina Cherla – our Music Therapist and Regional Director
Nina is now working as Music Therapist and Regional director of TMTT. Although she arrived in India just a few weeks ago, India is not a new place for her. Nina has been travelling to India for over a decade, is familiar with the culture and the music. She even knows quite a bit of Hindi! Her professional experience includes 15 years of work in public healthcare as a care worker for individuals with special needs. She is also a musician and has released two albums and performed at various venues in Sweden, India and the UK. Nina will be overseeing the operations at Continua Kids as well as coordinating TMTT's work in Gurgaon and throughout India. We've asked Nina to write a little about herself, her music and her experience in India:
Ever since I was 16 I've known that I wanted to become a music therapist. I've always loved working with people but I was not sure how to combine that passion with my passion for music. One warm summer many years ago I was doing my first summer job ever in a day care centre for adults with acquired brain injuries. At the centre there was a music therapist who came once a week to carry out music therapy sessions with the visitors at the centre. This was the first time I ever heard about music therapy. I knew straight away that this is what I want to do. I was not sure how to do it, or where but I never doubted that this was the right profession for me. In September 2013 I moved from Sweden (the place where I was born and raised) to the UK to do my Masters in Music Therapy. It was a tough training, studying psychology and children's language acquisition as well as clinical improvisation and a wide array of music therapy techniques. I have always been fascinated by how music and language is processed differently in the brain, and how people with severe brain lesions can sometimes sing although they are unable to speak. That's why I chose to write my master's dissertation on how to utilise singing to regain speech after acquiring a brain injury. I graduated from The University of South Wales with excellent references and not long after my graduation I moved to India to work as a music therapist, offering my services as Music Therapist in Hyderabad at Asha Hospital, Zeba Bashiruddin Centre for Healthy Aging, and Music as Therapy International working with special needs children and the elderly affected by dementia.
My love for India is almost as old as my love for Music Therapy. I came to India for the first time in 2006 and I must say it was love at first sight. I love the culture, the music, the languages, the hospitable people, the colours, the incense and the block print patterns. I have been travelling back and forth to India for over a decade now and I am proud to call India my home. Another thing (among many) that I love about India is that when I talk about music therapy with Indians, the power of music and its healing abilities are never questioned. India has a rich tradition of using ragas and Indian classical music for medical purposes and although clinical music therapy as a profession is still quite new in India, the therapeutic use of music is not.
I am very excited to be working for The Music Therapy Trust. Through clinical work, skill sharing, workshops, research and training I am hoping that we can spread the awareness of this wonderful profession all over India.