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Music therapy or music AS therapy, anyone?

Neri

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
So I've been attending a music therapy group for about 4 weeks now. It goes for 10 weeks. It's not my first time, I did it in hospital for trauma and through a rehab organization in my village before and I LOVE IT!

It's great for people like me, music playing (I'm a singer/songwriter/improv artist and a little percussion) is my comfort zone, but I got burnt out and traumatized doing it as a job.

Anyone else tried doing music purely as a therapeutic activity? It's got me getting back my musical mojo and I've written a song for the group (at another group members behest), had amazing jams, gotten feedback that is incredibly good for my confidence and self esteem and just generally, have been having an amazing time.

My health has improved, as a result and I feel soooo much happier than I've been for ages.
 
I slap my thighs (thigh drumming) when Im over stimulated or anxious. Ive seen Harvey Price do that too. He is definitely a drummer. I practice my drum rudiments. I have percussion instruments but I don't want my neighbours to know I'm alive.
 
I slap my thighs (thigh drumming) when Im over stimulated or anxious. Ive seen Harvey Price do that too. He is definitely a drummer. I practice my drum rudiments. I have percussion instruments but I don't want my neighbours to know I'm alive.
I got that way with singing for a good too many years. My (kinda unhinged and scary) neighbor actually liked my singing and told me so and I freaked out and stopped for ages. Sigh. Costly for me as it's been a major stim throughout a lot of my life and stopping wasn't good for me.
I've finally gotten over that. And I'm happy, singing makes me a much happier li'l' autist :).
 
@Neri How does music therapy work?

As I understand, and I'll expand that to anything creative, it pretty much works off the idea that being creative is good for the soul and the mind

For many people who actively do creative things, it becomes a way to express their emotions around the things they deal with

For those who don't think they are creative, you might be surprised
 
@Neri sounds awesome! Such a group of supportive, like-minded creatives must really feed your spirit and spark your mind—would be my dream to find a social setting like that🫶🏻

If you’re comfortable, feel free to share a composition with us or tell us more about your sessions and how you got into it, I for one am really interested and curious 🎶
 
Yesterday was our 5th session. We had some people missing, the freestyle rapper wasn't there, we had 2 new guys who turned out to both be the support workers of this very talky aboriginal guy that comes. We had a percussion jam with guitar and me on vocals.
Then we wrote a quick song (mainly me and the music therapist making up a song about things I said about how I believe we are natural musical creatures (as evidenced by) many people, people's and even tiny children. We all have rhythm coz we breathe and walk, and we all have lyrics and melody through ways we talk.
Anyway, the music therapist suggested we write song around that theme so we did.
It turned out pretty good.

Then, my support worker played bass and one of the aboriginal guys support workers played guitar and we had an epic reggae jam (my training ground was reggae so I was rockin' it!). Everyone else joined in on percussion. It wasn't my idea, reggae, but I was kinda thrilled.

Everyone seemed to love it and have a great time.

One of the the quiet guys who, when-warms-up- after-a-couple-of-weeks-plays-awesome-guitar, gave me some lovely feedback, he said my presence in the group "helps him feel and be more himself" which I was very touched by.

We had another percussion kinda jam and that was it.
I loved it. Had an awesome time.
 
Yesterday was our 5th session. We had some people missing, the freestyle rapper wasn't there, we had 2 new guys who turned out to both be the support workers of this very talky aboriginal guy that comes. We had a percussion jam with guitar and me on vocals.
Then we wrote a quick song (mainly me and the music therapist making up a song about things I said about how I believe we are natural musical creatures (as evidenced by) many people, people's and even tiny children. We all have rhythm coz we breathe and walk, and we all have lyrics and melody through ways we talk.
Anyway, the music therapist suggested we write song around that theme so we did.
It turned out pretty good.

Then, my support worker played bass and one of the aboriginal guys support workers played guitar and we had an epic reggae jam (my training ground was reggae so I was rockin' it!). Everyone else joined in on percussion. It wasn't my idea, reggae, but I was kinda thrilled.

Everyone seemed to love it and have a great time.

One of the the quiet guys who, when-warms-up- after-a-couple-of-weeks-plays-awesome-guitar, gave me some lovely feedback, he said my presence in the group "helps him feel and be more himself" which I was very touched by.

We had another percussion kinda jam and that was it.
I loved it. Had an awesome time.

This is all so encouraging to read. Quiet Guitar Guy sounds adorable, and your support worker bassist seems cool and engaged. Lately I've been really into percussive TV/film soundtracks, it's incredible how textures of skins & drums & brushes & bells can transform a soundscape.

Most of all I love the way you think about music as an instinctual, embodied, natural element of our existence, and about speech as song.

Do you record the songs you come up with in session, or is it a rip-it-up-after like journalling kind of exercise?
 
It's been a while. Sorry I got caught up and sort of, forgot about this thread. I have so much to tell you guys!
I've been having the most amazing time, in music therapy group!
My youngest son (18) calls me a music savant and he's probably not that far off.
I love it so much I'm going to have to keep the group going, as, officially, we only have two weeks left, and then a grand finale at the local Community Mental Health facility.
I have hit it off, big time. with a guy in my group; musically that is, not romantically. He used to be in a band or bands, just like me. He told me, today, "pop rock" I think he called it, so yeah, he and I are skilled at songwriting and improv and he play lots of instruments too. Bass, keys, piano, guitar and beautiful singing.
My support worker is a skilled musician, too, and I'm going to ask him if he can lead the group with me and Matt, the guy I was just talking about.

Eventually, I will have recordings of what we're up too. We do a lot of really magic jamming and some originals and covers too.

I've written one of the originals, which Matt had suggested I do and it's sounding really amazing.
And we have a free styin' rapper man too, and he's getting better and better fast, and Matt has taught us one of his, that's really, really lovely, too.
So my song has rapper man freestylin' and Matt improvin' a verse and its coming along really, really nicely.

We had a cool as Shamanic sound journey today, with me and rapper guy going for it and Matt on Bass, everyone one else held down the riddims.

Excuse me lingo, I come from a reggae background and I'm an Aussie.
I play the egg, and lot, and sometimes the frog.
 
This is all so encouraging to read. Quiet Guitar Guy sounds adorable, and your support worker bassist seems cool and engaged. Lately I've been really into percussive TV/film soundtracks, it's incredible how textures of skins & drums & brushes & bells can transform a soundscape.

Most of all I love the way you think about music as an instinctual, embodied, natural element of our existence, and about speech as song.

Do you record the songs you come up with in session, or is it a rip-it-up-after like journalling kind of exercise?
@Seladon. Sorry I took so long to reply. I'm not sure why. Someday my brain just doesn't process information very well. I get pretty severe executive disfunction at times.
 
Update; I rang the lady who organized the group and told her I don't want it to stop. She is going to see what she can do to accommodate me.
 
@Seladon. Sorry I took so long to reply. I'm not sure why. Someday my brain just doesn't process information very well. I get pretty severe executive disfunction at times.

All good, not to worry in the least! And no pressure to reply again or continue if it's too much atm. We all get busy or caught up mentally at times. And if you're having a nice productive interesting time out in the real world rather than posting here, that's more important, a net positive and something we all should get behind.

As far as I've heard it's quite common for us ASD people to have a bit of avoidance anxiety about messaging and the like. It's certainly something that's affected me often, even on this board--I had a panic attack after my very first intro post, and didn't come back to check replies for a month lmao, people must have thought I was so rude.

My youngest son (18) calls me a music savant and he's probably not that far off.

This is so sweet and lovely, you have a fantastic lad there! And from what you've shared, it sounds like he's right. He's lucky to have a parent who's so musical and interested in arts & performance, too.

I love it so much I'm going to have to keep the group going, as, officially, we only have two weeks left, and then a grand finale at the local Community Mental Health facility.

I have hit it off, big time. with a guy in my group; musically that is, not romantically. He used to be in a band or bands, just like me. He told me, today, "pop rock" I think he called it, so yeah, he and I are skilled at songwriting and improv and he play lots of instruments too. Bass, keys, piano, guitar and beautiful singing.
My support worker is a skilled musician, too, and I'm going to ask him if he can lead the group with me and Matt, the guy I was just talking about.

Eventually, I will have recordings of what we're up too. We do a lot of really magic jamming and some originals and covers too.

I've written one of the originals, which Matt had suggested I do and it's sounding really amazing.
And we have a free styin' rapper man too, and he's getting better and better fast, and Matt has taught us one of his, that's really, really lovely, too.
So my song has rapper man freestylin' and Matt improvin' a verse and its coming along really, really nicely.

Yes! You totally need to continue, the group seems to be doing so much good. Tbh I'm going to follow your progress and think about seeking or setting up something similar in my area, because the benefits seem outrageous.

And am sure many here would love to hear your compositions, I certainly would. Rate a jam sesh! And it's even better when you know all the musicians are in sync, sharing chemistry, and enjoying each other's company--it really does make all the difference like you say, and it comes though in the music.

It's tidy that you've found someone to 'click' and connect closely with in that way, especially as those types of relationships can sometimes be a bit trickier to find or initiate for people like us. A quintuple threat musician sounds like an epic creative partner to have. (if a bit intimidating!)

Songwriting is something I've always admired in others, and sometimes I long to be able to myself, but I don't know how.

We had a cool as Shamanic sound journey today, with me and rapper guy going for it and Matt on Bass, everyone one else held down the riddims.

Excuse me lingo, I come from a reggae background and I'm an Aussie.
I play the egg, and lot, and sometimes the frog.

The frog doesn't get the respect in band settings uno!!!!

Shamanic? My pagan ears have pricked up. That's brilliant, to connect with the universe via art.

Reggae & dancehall have a foothold in Oz? How amazing. Here in Britain this genre has quite a presence for obvious reasons, though only in certain quarters.
 
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Thank you for your kind response @Seladon :).

Yes, being a "music therapy" setting, it's not fraught with any competitive or egoic kind of thing that I've had my own sense of intimidation with, in working in "the industry".

I'm not at all intimidated because he's a very kind, humble man, and even though I'm an illiterate musician, I make up for that in experience, expertise and prolific creativity. Us autists are often "spikey" in our abilities, and I'm no different.

I was very bad at socializing and "humaning" (extreme anxiety and depression and severe issues due to low oxytocin production~singing boosts oxytocin:)) as a youngster, so I obsessed over singing and got really good at generating melody, vocal flexibility and lyrical expression, and I started my music "career" as a harmony/back up vocalist, so I'm good at harmony singing, as well, but, that has developed over the course of thirty plus years. It has got to the point where I feel very confident just through sheer 1000's of hours of skill development.

I thought of a name for one of the genres I identify with. I call it "Shamanic Groove". :) I do want to share it, maybe I will get a youtube channel happening at some stage. I also want to get someone skilled at sound engineering and recording to come to our group, and then you could hear the kind of thing we are doing.

Yes, I was in an original reggae band, more roots than anything, called "Earth Reggae" in the 90's and through the first 5-10 years of the 2000's. Reggae is quite popular here, especially where I live, as it is a very "herbal" culture here. We just had our annual "Mardi Grass" festival, last weekend. I have been out of "The scene" for about 14 years now, though.

The good thing about our music therapy group, though, that I love, is that people don't need any musical experience to come, and participate. There are lots of percussion instruments for anyone to bang a tambourine, clap some clap sticks or play a Jembe.

If we have it as a permanent group, support workers can bring their clients (it has been started by community mental health, so it's specifically targeted to people suffering psychosocial difficulties) anytime, any week, with absolutely no pressure. Even just to listen, if they don't want to actively participate. Music is medicine, to my mind.
 
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