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Songwriting as a Method in Music Therapy


Did you know, that one of my favourite Music Therapy technique is Song-writing for support with daily rituals and routines?


As a singer-songwriter, I personally love this form of expressing and communicating


Sometimes, it is easier to remember information when it is in sing-sing form. For example, growing up, I remember my grade 4 teacher playing educational songs to help us remember things like Timestables! It actually REALLY helped!

I have been learning Spanish for over 1 year now and I still head to Youtube or Spotify to find songs in Spanish to help widen my vocabulary in a fun way and to also retain info about certain topics like the Weather, Time, Days of the week and MORE!


My experience working in a school with autistic students opened me up to the endless possibilities that came with music and daily routines. It was incredible... all the staff and students were singing almost the entire day. Sometimes for instructions, such as for sitting down and checking the daily schedule, or singing about the weather, saying goodbye/hello or to encourage physical activity- just to name a few!


It allowed me to see how helpful songs can be for retaining information and assigning meaning to a song to help you comprehend the information.


With constant repetition, the song triggers your memory and you go 'Oh yep, this jingle is telling me that I need to find a chair now and take a seat' . Rather than having these instructions verbally prompted, singing is also a much more light hearted and fun way to communicate.


This style of song-writing shows up in my work through me working with families to write songs about daily routines such as Toileting, Teeth Brushing and visits to Hospital.


WHAT IS SONGWRITING IN MUSIC THERAPY?


In the published book: Songwriting: Methods, Techniques and Clinical Applications for Music Therapy Clinicians, Educators and Students by Felicity Baker and Tony Wigram (2005):


It is...
"The process of creating, notating and/or recording lyrics and music by the client or clients and therapist within a therapeutic relationship to address psychosocial, emotional, cognitive and communication needs of the client"

Another style of songwriting may offer more emotional support and the outcomes are more likely to be increased self-esteem and confidence. While group songwriting can not only support emotional expression but also social relating.


Song-writing is a method used in MANY settings

  • adult oncology

  • children oncology

  • adolescents

  • bereaved teenagers

  • hospice

  • adult or child psychiatry

  • and more...


Don't be intimidated


Some people DREAM of creating a song, but never do they consider themselves capable. As I have mentioned before, to engage in Music Therapy, one does not need to 'a musician' although I truly believe we are ALLLLLL innately musical ANYWAY!

As a trained therapist, the Registered Music Therapist really should support your involvement in the process in a way that feels empowering, comfortable and enjoyable for you. There are many different approaches and strategies that the RMT can take and they will ensure to tailor the process to your needs and goals.









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