We want to take a moment during this busy week back to work and wish you a Happy New Year! We truly hope you had a wonderful holiday season, and feel excited and inspired to begin another year. But … maybe you don’t feel excited or inspired. Maybe you feel anxious, stressed, burned out, or depressed.
If you feel that you are stuck and need help moving forward or moving on from something, our team is here for those very reasons. Please reach out any time to find out if Music Therapy is exactly what you or your loved one has been needing.
If you want to see what we were up to in December, meet our new intern, or watch Bailey’s Bell Choir performance, you can find all of that in our latest Newsletter here.
When our team presents to a room of healthcare professionals, one of our biggest points that we drive home is the simple fact that, if we believe music holds the power to help us, then we must acknowledge that it also holds the power to harm us, if and when it is used incorrectly.
Think about it for a minute – if music can positively influence our heart rate, breathing patterns, feelings, and emotions, then music can also negatively influence our heart rate, breathing patterns, feelings and emotions!
Even though introducing music as a treatment option in the healthcare setting is much less invasive or costly than introducing a drug/medicine, scalpel, or some sort of painful physical exertion, if any element of the music is introduced in an inappropriate way for the moment or environment, then it can cause stress, anxiety, aggravation, and can open the floodgates of emotions. Opening the floodgates can be a great thing – but it is important to do so in a safe, therapeutic setting, which is what Music Therapists do best.
How can music be inappropriate to the moment or environment? A few simple answers include: timing, tempo, volume, instrument selection, genre of music, song selection, history of song, pitch and key of song, placement of sound source, and the overall timbre of the music being played. If some of these elements don’t sound simple, but instead very complicated to you, don’t worry! Music therapists are equal parts trained musician and trained therapist — because the MUSIC and the THERAPY are equally important!
We often hear statements like, “Oh we have music therapy in our facility — we have a harpist who plays in the foyer!” And while we truly love that patients have access to music that they may enjoy, we always want to gently remind our audience that music therapy is a clinical treatment option which is provided by a trained and board-certified Music Therapist (“MT-BC”). So while the harpist may be the best at their craft, if they are not an MT-BC, then the music they are providing is not music therapy. And what if a patient is being subjected to music that they don’t like? What if harp music causes agitation, anxiety, or even triggers an emotion or memory that a patient who is isolated in their room needs assistance processing? When not carefully curated and presented, simply stated, music can be harmful.
If you have questions about how to safely incorporate music into your healthcare setting, we can help! Please consult and hire a Music Therapist; and while we would love for it to be us, we understand if you go elsewhere — just make sure they are a Board-Certified Music Therapist who is credentialed by the Certification Board for Music Therapists — and in states like Georgia, be sure they also have their state license to practice!
All MT-BCs should have the below badge readily available to show to you, and should also have a 5-digit certification number. You can also look up certification status of any music therapist here.
Here at Metro Music Therapy, we truly believe that our Veterans should be honored every day!
We are proud to tell you more about our newest partnership with Emory Healthcare.
Emory Healthcare Veterans Program
It has been our honor to recently come alongside the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program (EHVP) to provide music therapy services to the veterans and service members in their care. EHVP is a part of the Wounded Warrior Project’s Warrior Care Network, a nationwide program which recognizes the stress of military service and the challenges of returning to civilian life. Post-9/11 veterans and service members struggling with invisible wounds such as PTSD, TBI, MST, Anxiety or Depression, may benefit from this free and confidential Intensive Outpatient Program.
During our sessions at the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program, veterans collaborate with each other to relax, express themselves, share coping skills, and build confidence and self-esteem. Each veteran brings a unique perspective and experience, and it is my honor to facilitate these groups.– Hayley Oliver, LPMT, MT-BC
We hope you enjoy the special edition of the MMT Newsletter, wherein we highlight our work specific to Veterans. You can read the entire newsletter here.
Metro Music Therapy has the privilege of working with numerous impactful organizations who strive to make a difference in the lives of others. One organization that MMT has a long standing relationship with is Music Therapy of the Rockies located in Colorado. Music Therapy of the Rockies mission is to provide quality services and life-changing opportunities for veterans across the country. As part of this initiative, Music Therapy of the Rockies began songwriting retreats for veterans who suffer from PTSD and other service-related injuries. The retreats originated in Nashville, TN on Amy Grant’s farm where they remain each year.
Mallory Even, Owner and Founder of MMT, and Laura Lenz, Assistant Director, have been fortunate enough to attend multiple veteran songwriting retreats in both Nashville and Atlanta. Each retreat is a two and a half day experience consisting of music therapy groups and songwriting sessions with a professional songwriter telling the veteran’s original story. Mallory Even shared that “veterans learn to play guitar and receive a guitar to keep” once the retreat finishes. “The entire weekend ends with a concert in which each veteran’s song is showcased” says Even.
So, how does music therapy play a direct role in each songwriting retreat? “Music therapy is integral to the entire weekend and to the schedule and set up of the retreats” shared Even. Laura Lenz shared that “Board-certified music therapists are trained to recognize and support the veterans’ experiences in such a way that their safety and well-being is always at the forefront.” Music therapists apply their training in recognizing and understanding the neurological aspects of PTSD, anxiety, depression, and Traumatic Brain Injuries to structure the musical experience for the benefit of the veteran. Application of counseling skills and facilitating the veteran’s experience in a comfortable, safe environment ensures a successful songwriting session.
When asked why this experience is so beneficial to veterans, Mallory stated that “when veterans share their story through song, they own a piece of it that they may never have been able to before, and tell it in a way that is their choice.” Those involved in the weekend activities offer a safe, non-judgmental environment to offer the ability to share some of their darkest and hardest stories to tell. “This process can be very healing not only in the moment, but long-term” says Even. When looking at the long-term benefits, there have been countless accounts from attendees of praise and gratitude for the veterans songwriting retreats. “Music Therapy of the Rockies is engaging in research to take brain images before a retreat and then the same images of the same veteran six months after a retreat…their preliminary results are showing increased blood flow in the brain and Music Therapy of the Rockies truly believes this is the physiological benefit of the retreat experience” Mallory shared. In addition, Laura mentioned that she has spoken to many of the veterans post-retreat and there is a “universal expression of appreciation for the tools they are taught during these retreats such as using their guitars to help them through stressful times and utilizing the techniques of music and relaxation throughout their day.”
Freely sharing and letting the music write difficult stories is a beautiful, heartfelt process to watch for all involved. It’s hard to pinpoint one specific highlight of each retreat, but Mallory states that “it’s the people, hands down! The music therapists, the veterans, and the songwriters.” While Laura agrees, she adds that “it is one of the highest honors of my life to be allowed the opportunity to be a tiny part of being in the presence of these remarkable people whose stories are told in such a glorious way through the songwriters’ talent and compassion along with the music therapists who are so dedicated to the entirety of the people and process.”
We are forever grateful to work alongside Music Therapy of the Rockies and be a part of their amazing work for our veterans. Metro is also fortunate to host our own retreats in the Atlanta area which are graciously funded, planned, and led by Music Therapy of the Rockies. We, at Metro Music Therapy, continue to live by our mission statement of, “We Can Help.” Our team members are dedicated to making a positive impact in the lives of those who sacrificed so much. We try to accurately express our thoughts and emotions upon attending veteran songwriting retreats, but as Laura beautifully said, “words truly don’t capture the experience.”