Therapy that ends on a happy note

Powerful music: Liz Butt and the Music Well team made sure everyone left smiling and relaxed

Feeling stressed or lonely? Music can help, said Liz Butt, founder and a director of the Music Well charity, when she explained the mood-changing qualities of music to the audience at a healthy living event at Rye Primary School, arranged jointly by the Ferry Road and Rye Medical Centre patient participation groups last Wednesday (October 1). “It has this power,” she said, “to influence a person’s physical and emotional response, to motivate or to soothe, to express powerful feelings of joy, sadness and spiritual depth.”

Her colleagues took roles to demonstrate character types with social and emotional needs which could be met by music therapy, and then John Fever spoke about his work with young people in schools and how music might help those who have learning difficulties or poor social skills. Keith Osborne then told of how he sets about bringing music into old peoples’ homes, and how spontaneous singing and movement to music can unlock a frozen mind-frame and introduce a sense of group harmony to the loneliest of people.

And then the fun started. Under our chairs were a couple of plastic plates and we were invited to use these as cymbals to the rhythm of an Irish jig. The result was both hilarious and moving. Next, Liz handed out a musical instrument not usually found in the classical orchestra, which was shaken, rattled and struck in time with the band. Everyone left on a happy note, smiling and looking very relaxed. As one of the organisers remarked: this meeting was certainly different from the usual talks.