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Brett Riches at Winston's Wish

This article talks about the use of music in helping adolescents find support while working through grief in a healthy and creative manner. The Winston’s Wish charity for bereaved children in Cheltenham, UK, launched a music program back in December 2012 to help adolescents deal with the death of a parent through music. Brett Riches, the youth worker and musician who runs this group, utilizes music therapy interventions such as song writing, recording, discussions and drumming to help the boys, aged 11 to 13, explore their feelings in a safe and supportive environment.

“It’s about taking the pressure off being too verbal about their loss. They might want to use music instead when they’re feeling sad or need a boost”, explains Brett. Psychotherapist Philippa Perry states, “Kids are often more honest about their feelings than adults. The important thing with childhood bereavement is that they can be in a sharing situation with people not embarrassed by grief and not paralysed by what to say”. Additionally, psychoanalyst Anouchka Grose states that it is important to help children process death in a healthy manner.

The boys in this music group are “fearlessly honest” in expressing their experience: “It feels as if you’re taken to the edge…and you can’t hold it in”; “It’s like you’re a train on a winding track”. These words are affirmed and created into song lyrics, recorded by the boys, and responded to by the boys with excitement: “Sick!”.

To read the entire article, click here: Feb. 24, 2013 – How music helps children to deal with


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This article provides a snapshot of how music therapy is often used in long-term care (LTC). The music therapist, Corina Strim, provides a program at Golden Eagle View LTC at the Canmore General Hospital in Alberta, and works on goals including cognitive and tactile stimulation, social awareness and to build a sense of community and belonging.

The interventions that are used in Corina’s group are catered uniquely to the group and their interests, wants and needs for the day. Nevertheless, the interventions used are rich and range from singing along to classic songs, engaging with a guitar or harp, improvising to music or dancing. “My husband is very sleepy a lot of the time, but when he heard (Richard) Rodgers’s and (Oscar) Hammerstein’s O What A Beautiful Morning, he woke up and started singing,” stated the spouse of one of the residents in the music therapy program.

What’s also amazing is that this program is supported by the Canmore and Area Health care Foundation. This foundation has recognized the positive effect of music therapy on the “social fabric of (the) community”, and backed up these words by providing funds for the program for the next three years! Fantastic.

Read the entire article here (Feb. 7, 2013): Music Therapy Strikes Right Chord

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Here’s a “case study” of music therapy’s impact on an individual! This short video from Fox News (Canada) features Bill Forester, a man who suffered a stroke, subsequent coma, and was told that he would not speak or walk again. Bill turned to music therapy at the Cleveland Clinic as a way to re-acquire his lost skills.

In his weekly sessions, Bill worked on re-training his hand strength and coordination by playing on the piano and guitar. However, Bill’s primary focus was on recovering his speech through singing and song discussion. Music in this way was being used by the music therapist and client to aid, activate, or “retrain” the area of the brain related to speech.

Watch the video here (Jan. 30, 2013): Music therapy helps stroke patient speak again


Here’s a sweet article from the Globe and Mail talking about the innovative use of the Montessori strategy in a day program for people with Dementia. What makes this strategy wonderful for this population is that it utilizes the skill set and – presumably – interests of the clients to bring forth positive behaviours, and to challenge them in a familiar-yet-new way. It’s life-affirming and really acknowledges the person as someone who has had rich experiences and skills prior to the disease.

Read it Here!! Montessori Method to Combat Dementia