We have the pleasure of working with many clients with extraordinarily varying abilities and needs. It is extremely rewarding to see the lives of our clients being transformed as they progress in the therapy. Watch some of the case studies we have compiled and read about some of the clients we have assisted through Music Therapy.
Simra - Simra was born with the rare conditions Lebers Amaurosis and Joubert Syndrome leaving her with total blindness as well as having poor muscle tone, co-ordination and balance. Watch as Simra explores the world through music with the help of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy.
Tim - Tim was referred to music therapy by his mother at the age of two and a half years old. Autism was suspected but he had no formal diagnosis. A speech assessment at the time recommended intervention, however due to his young age and his difficulties with focus and concentration, this was not deemed possible by his mother.
Tim's expressive language was clearly delayed; he was able to produce a few vocal sounds but no words. It is here where Tim's truly inspiring journey to speech began. It lasted sixteen months and started with a few vocal sounds and ended with conversational language. The following video shows Tim's journey to speech through music therapy.
Seven years after his music therapy concluded, Tim and his mother came to visit the music therapy centre where his sessions were conducted. He did not remember the therapists or the therapy. The therapists were informed by his mother that Tim was eventually diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, on the Aspergers spectrum. Tim is now a conversant young man who has a great passion for history, in particular that of monarchies.
Luke - Luke is completely blind. At the age of 13 he began to withdraw from the world. Eventually he became a selective mute. This is his journey through his mother's eyes.
Caius - Caius is a 13 year old boy with Autism and a moderate intellectual disability. He attended Music Therapy at Nordoff-Robbins with a group from his high school on weekly basis. This is Caius' exploration of social engagement and leadership through music within a 10 week journey.
Mark - Mark, 39, has severe Autism plus a number of conditions of unknown origin. While in the music room, he would constantly walk around bending his body rhythmically and making loud repetitive sounds. Sometimes he would pick up an object from the floor and move it to another location.
But whenever the music therapist approached him directly, he would walk away. Any music that was played to him and any technique the music therapist used to instil awareness and interest appeared to make no difference. Mark would never sit down and never hold any objects given to him. However, after six weeks of trying to establish a connection with him, something significant happened.
Mark came in and, as usual, started walking around the room, bending his body and making repetitive sounds. The music therapist took a guitar and started playing soft arpeggios. After a while, he brought the guitar closer to Mark and Mark became interested; he stopped moving and started gazing at the shiny surface of the instrument. The music therapist began to play and then, using the guitar, guided Mark slowly towards the chair. Mark followed and sat down showing no signs of resistance. The music therapist started playing again and then gently took Mark's hand showing him how to strum the strings. Mark did not resist that either. After a few assisted strums Mark started playing independently, settling into a steady rhythm.
After that, a number of small breakthroughs took place. This video shows how Mark developed a first connection with his therapist.
Fouady - This video presents a song written by a client of the Golden Stave Music Therapy Centre in Sydney. Song writing is an accepted modality used by music therapists at the Centre.
Lyndon - In this short video the client and the therapist explore the feeling of anger using music improvisation.
‘Violet, a lady in her 80s, has been coming to the Centre each Thursday afternoon as part of our community outreach and support. She was always a keen dancer and pianist but this had ceased. One afternoon as she got on the bus to go home she said to me “Now that my life has had a revival since coming here, I will start playing the piano again”.’
Robin Howat, Senior Music Therapist
‘Dorothy used to be a teacher and now in her 80s with ill health, she remembers those days fondly. She loves music. In her music therapy group relationships of trust have developed and Dorothy brought in a magnificent photo album spanning over 100 years charting her life story. Formerly rather demanding and dominating in the group, she now spoke with such pride and dignity about her life and achievements.’
Robin Howat, Senior Music Therapist
‘I was working with a middle-aged man who had suffered a stroke. He was able to sing, but not speak, so part of the music therapy was to support his ability to sing as a way through to language, as well as allow him to express his feelings of frustration and anger at being completely cognitive but physically impaired. After some months of music therapy, we finished the session and he turned his head and called to his wife to tell her that the session was finished. The look on his face when he realized that he had actually said something, and that the words had come out the right way, was a joy to behold. A real ‘magic moment’ for me.’
Peta Williams, Registered Music Therapist