Ironical as it may sound, I was a very intelligent student who didn’t manage to get exceptional grades at school. But I always wanted to study psychology, so I applied for the course at several colleges as an extra-curricular activities student. The move helped me study the subject I love, and music came as a bonus. The acapella group I was part of gave me the opportunity to represent my college and meet others who shared my love for music. When I graduated, I had no idea that I would become a music therapist. Nevertheless, just like others in my field, I decided to enrol for a Masters in Clinical/Counselling Psychology.
When I started applying to colleges, the option of pursuing music therapy as a career came my way. Honestly, I had no clarity on what it was, but still decided to give it a shot, and that’s when my journey began. I have seen that most people assume music therapy involves a person sitting, preferably lying down and a therapist playing the ‘right’ kind of music. This, however, is not at all close to reality.
Music is, in itself, therapeutic and we all know that. In music therapy, however, music is used as a means of reaching a more therapeutic realm. I feel music therapy is an additional, and often complementary, treatment. It is significant for everyone, even those who are healthy. This form of therapy addresses physical as well as emotional ailments. It allows people to discover and achieve their maximum potential. So, when it comes to people with any kind of disabilities, music therapy can work wonders.
When I started my career as a music therapist, I myself was skeptical about its benefits and effect. Which is why, when I am approached with doubts about how this therapy can help, it doesn’t surprise me at all. Pick a field and see the impact a music therapy programme has had on it, and you’ll be amazed. The most important lesson I have learnt as a music therapist is that I have to be creative all the time. We need to constantly evolve and understand that no profession can grow without innovation.
I now understand how important it is not only to be honest about what you’re doing, but also to find alternate ways to achieve your goals. For me it all boils down to expression and communication. As a practitioner of music therapy, I feel confident. And just like my subject, I am constantly evolving and improving my understanding of myself.