by Jocelyn Obermeyer, CHTP, NSBTM Member-at-large
Music Therapy means the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. Music therapists develop an individualized music therapy treatment plan for the client that identifies the goals, objectives, and potential strategies of the music therapy services appropriate for the client using music therapy interventions. These interventions may include music improvisation, receptive music listening, song writing, lyric discussion, music and imagery, music performance, learning through music, and movement to music.
On my monthly visit to a long-term care facility, I was greeted by the life enrichment coordinator (whom I was just meeting for the first time) and the music therapist. I knew this facility had hired a music therapist and I was very excited to meet her. The life enrichment coordinator wanted pictures of me playing my harp and assigned that task to Ione Murray, MT-BC, who had received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Michigan University.
Ione escorted me to the dining room and as I was playing, she took some pictures. She asked me if I was a MT and I said “No, I am a TM.” I asked, “Do you know this field? And she replied, “Yes.” I continued playing and singing and I heard this sweet, clear harmony ever so gently singing along. I asked Ione to name some of her favorite songs and we ended up giving an impromptu 40-minute music session to the lovely folks! Her most favorite song is “Over the Rainbow,” so I played the harp and she sang a solo. The crowd went crazy! I then explained to the group that we just met and never rehearsed anything we were doing together. I also explained that I was their therapeutic musician that visited once a month and Ione is their music therapist that is there every day! We both acknowledged that we are absolutely great together and we plan on partnering in the future. Relationship building and creative partnering bring a richer experience for the patients, families and staff. Isn’t that our ultimate offering?