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Try Everything: A story about finding voice

June 6, 2017

This post is the first in a series of stories about things that have actually occurred in music therapy sessions. Personal information about the individuals in questions has been removed or changed in order to protect client privacy. But I wanted to share some anecdotes to demonstrate what music therapy is capable of. Talking about research or theories or interventions can sometimes seem a little abstract; the best way to understand music therapy is to see it in action. I hope these stories serve as the next best thing.

 

If you've seen the Disney Movie Zootopia, you might have recognized the title. If not, or if it's been a while, you might need to take a second to listen to the song that this story's about:

 

Mark (name has been changed) was a bright young man I worked with in a previous job. His parents signed him up for music therapy services because of a speech impediment, with the hopes that singing could be a way to address the issue. As sometimes happens, Mark's speech impediment was much less severe when singing than when speaking-- but generally he refused to sing. In fact, most of the time he refused to talk at all, avoiding communication when he could. Working with him I quickly realized that for Mark, the speech impediment wasn't the real issue-- it was his lack of confidence.

 

Often when I would ask Mark to try something new, after failing the first few times he would become frustrated and quit. Sometimes he would start goofing off instead, trying to hide his insecurities.

 

But I had a secret weapon-- Imagine Dragons, his favorite band. We played as many Imagine Dragons songs as I could learn-- and he sang along because he kne