The Music Therapy Trust was recently featured in ScooNews – India’s Most Preferred Education Platform
We are truly happy and thankful for this lovely article that ScooNews put together. Also, it shows that India and schools all over the country are taking more and more interest in Music Therapy. In the UK many special needs schools provide Music Therapy as a part of their curriculum and Music Therapy is supported and provided by UK’s National Health Service (NHS). We at TMTT hope through training Music Therapists and spreading awareness across the country that Music Therapy will one day be available for children in Indian schools too.
We would love to share with you our participation during the First National Conference on Addiction Psychiatry held at AIIMS on the 27th-29th November in New Delhi.
It was a very captivating conference where presenters and workshop facilitators were eager to share their interesting and cutting-edge work. The Music Therapy Trust also got the chance to present how music therapy can help those struggling with addiction and how this evidence-based and non-invasive treatment can fit in our fast evolving current health system.
We were very glad to attend and present in this important event and got to meet numerous health professionals from all over India.
We look forward to sharing with you more news.
Jose Alor and Elena Konstantinidi
We have just embarked in a very exciting project in partnership with the Baliga Trust and would love to share it with you. The project aims to empower young adults in a resettlement area in North East Delhi through music.
After a few weeks of meeting young people in the community, making music and getting to know the activities the trust offers, we are excited to see this project taking some shape. The project is starting as an open music group for anyone from the community aged between 18 and 24, where the participants are encouraged to explore different instruments and express ideas as to how to develop this venture. This way, the group decides the direction of this project and therefore we all share its responsibility.
It is interesting how despite of our different cultural backgrounds music can bring us all together. We had the privilege to dance, listen and play music of a wide range of styles and cultures.
We believe through this musical experiences that bring us together, we can break down gender, religion and caste barriers and offer young adults positive opportunities to explore creativity . Through this meaningful experience we encourage participants to develop their sense of self-worth and trust their capabilities.
Here is a video of us singing together with some of the children, isn’t it lovely?
We are very much looking forward to how this project will develop in the future.
Jose and Elena
Our third therapist has finally joined our team – Welcome Jose Alor! Jose is originally from Spain and after completing his bachelor’s degree in violin performance at the Royal Conservatory of Music of Madrid (RCSMM), he moved to the UK to study his master’s degree in Music Therapy at Nordoff Robbins Centre in London. He has worked for Nordoff Robbins as a music therapist in a wide range of settings including care homes, hospitals, schools as well as direct referrals at the centre. Jose has now been here for about a month and these are his thoughts about his first few weeks in India:
Hello my name is Jose Alor, I recently joined the TMTT team as a music therapist and I am really excited about this new step in my career.
Time has passed so quickly since I arrived in Delhi four weeks ago. I was so excited when I got out of the airport that it took me a while to think about how vibrant the new environment was. All senses were greatly stimulated during my first day here. I could feel the humid heat, see all the colourful women dresses, hear all the sounds of many cars, autos and people, the intense smell of spices, and taste the rich spicy food.
I was worried of not understanding well the music and culture here. It seemed so different from where I come from but local people are very welcoming and I have been invited to join some traditional events. One of them was a Puja, a ritual to venerate a God where music and dance play an important role. I really felt part of it when I played my flute and danced with other people. The majority of people could not speak english but music made me feel so connected to everyone there in a culture that seemed so different from mine!
I am very much looking forward to keep exploring what music and people can achieve!
Edison R. Carolino developed the Improvisation Rhythm Performance (IRP) technique for young children who struggle with the mainstream method of learning a musical instrument. Beginning from simple pictures, the technique allows the students to have an easy transition into recognising notes and sounds, therefore learning how to play the musical instrument of their choice. The training is provided by Edison and it includes two workshops.
In preparation for my upcoming trip to India, I had the privilege to attend the first training workshop. There were two more participants attending and after introducing ourselves, we began the workshop with various activities on the drums to wake our five senses.
In order to practice this technique, the teacher needs an IRP box which contains all the materials needed for its application. The box includes cards and boards which are to be used at different time frames. The initial group of cards displays animals, people or items and are introduced one at a time. The student is asked to improvise in the theme of the card presented. Edison emphasised the importance of the use of different sounds for each card. When the student becomes comfortable with the cards, the teacher adds counting numbers while playing the sounds to the original cards. This supports the student to learn counting rhythmically. The following step is the addition of emotion pictures which are represented by a sad, happy or angry face. Emotions represent musical dynamics. Combining all three steps, the student learns to play the sound of the first card in connection with rhythm and dynamics. In the final step, the teacher replaces the first picture with a musical note, introducing pitch to the student. After this stage is completed, the student is ready to start using mainstream books in order to continue learning the musical instrument.
During this introduction, Edison demonstrated examples of different sounds on the piano and shared video material from his sessions. We finished the workshop with discussion and I received the IRP Box with all the materials needed to practice the technique. It was a very informative morning and I look forward to applying the IRP technique when I arrive in India.
Nina is now working as Senior Music Therapist at 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.