Anxiety - The Enemy within

We’re pleased to say that Nigel will be with us in October at our Annual Conference to explore Song Therapy, a new therapeutic approach to music making in the community. Each speaker this year has been tasked with addressing a case study that encompasses digestive issues and/or extreme stress and anxiety. Here he offers us a short preamble to what he will be touching on at the conference:

When we meet in October it will be a first for me - the first time I will have the chance to share thoughts and music with complementary health professionals like yourselves, face to face. It is a big moment for sure - the therapeutic use of music in the UK has always been associated with the clinical health care profession of music therapy, so song therapy is truly the new kid on the block and for some it will represent a challenge as we build the concept of song as therapy in community and social care.

Of course we all know music is good for us. Not a day goes by without some news item celebrating the latest research that proves the relationship between social inclusion, music and well being but I’d like to just dip into this a little deeper and provide a bit of context so that when we meet we can enjoy some fun time together; some music making even!

Music as a friend In song therapy music is the therapist. A whacky idea I know but the logic is that in group settings such as community well being choirs we can’t possibly build traditional one to one therapeutic relationships with our clients. Indeed, in song therapy we prefer the word "participant" specifically because of this fact. However, the paradox is that even though our professional relationships with our participants might sometimes be distant, our music making can indeed have profound therapeutic impacts, particularly when delivered over time.

Song therapists bring familiar song into a space, patterns of air vibration that fill this space, triggering memories of loved ones, events and happenings in people’s lives. Memories that sometimes provide warm, safe feelings of love and security and, when shared with others, help us feel attached, part of a tribe, accepted just as we are - loved even.

Yes, just as a good friend might hold our hand in times of trouble, offer us empathy and a listening ear, so music and song eases our woes and soothes our soul.

Of course, just like a good friend, music can be there to encourage us to take new steps too; new adventur