I love songwriting! Each music therapist receives special songwriting training in college, because it is such a powerful intervention to use in a variety of situations. My favorite ways to use songwriting in music therapy are:
Songwriting to promote bonding between parents and their critically ill babies and give the parents a creative way to express their feelings
Part of my job in the pediatric hospital is to support the families of hospitalized children. It can be so stressful to have a sick child, especially when the child is an infant who has never been home. The process of writing a special song for their baby gives parents another way to express their love, when they may not be able to do so through holding, feeding, or other means. Many parents tell me that their special lullaby turns into their baby’s theme song, which they still sing and listen to years later.
Songwriting to help people learn specific routines and skills
Did you learn a song in elementary school listing the 50 United States? If so, I bet you can still list all the states in alphabetical order. Many music therapy clients with autism and other developmental/behavioral disorders write songs with their music therapists to help them learn and practice sequencing and new social skills. For example, a music therapist and a client who is working on social conversation skills might write a song together using words like this: “First we say hello, we smile and wave our hand. Then we ask them, ‘How are you?'”
songwriting to promote emotional expression in people who are experiencing stressful life experiences
Songwriting has been a very successful intervention during my music therapy sessions with chronically ill hospitalized teenagers, school-aged children dealing with grief, and pre-schoolers adjusting to life in the hospital after a major injury, among others. People often refer children to music therapy when they worry that they are too quiet, and aren’t talking about the elephant in the room (whether that be a new cancer diagnosis, the imminent death of a sibling, or their parents’ divorce). Songwriting is one of the tools music therapists use to help clients open up and start expressing what’s going on inside.
You don’t have to be a music therapy client to benefit from songwriting! Check out the Joyful Melodies songwriting offers. Creating your own personal song for your new baby, your fiancé, or someone else special in your life can be easy and so meaningful. Contact us to schedule a free songwriting consultation!