March, like all months of the year, has many causes, movements or historical moments to remember or celebrate. Too many to keep track of, but no doubt you have a favourite on your list. And in case you didn’t know, March is Music Therapy Month. Not for the first time have I mentioned the power of music in previous weekly blog posts, notably within the context of aging, brain health and creativity.
However, music therapy has no age limits and certainly it can be found applied across diverse domains of health, medical and life situations such as autism, emotional trauma, speech impairments and yes, even hearing impairments, and I have seen it at work in an end-of-life palliative care setting.
Here in this particular month, I wish to acknowledge two people I know who bring the story of music therapy into action, one in an aging research framework and one as a social enterprise in the caregiver world.
Dr. Kate Dupuis through the Research Institute on Aging in Ontario is leading a project called Music Across Generations. Dr. Dupuis is also the Schlegel Innovation Leader in Arts and Aging at Sheridan College. She studies how participation in the creative and performing arts can serve to enhance the well-being of older adults. What a wonderful take on this overall theme of the arts promoting health and well-being to include this inter-generational outlook.
Bev Foster is Co-founder and Executive Director of the Room 217 Foundation. Their purpose as a social enterprise is Changing the Care Experience with Music. Bev was inspired by her own direct experience with her father’s end of life and as she says, “how music companioned Dad in his final transition.” Room 217 celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2019 and continues to develop a strong offering of research, services and products for the caregiver community.
The scope of music therapy is amazing, as outlined wonderfully in detail by the Canadian Association of Music Therapists. This year its 45th Annual Conference is May 23-25 in Gatineau, Quebec.
Long live music therapy well beyond the month of March!
“Music, when soft voices die, vibrates in the memory.” Percy Bysshe Shelley