This posting comes from Romania where I have spent two days in Constanta with fellow music therapist, Becca Sayers. It is the first part of a visit where we will be travelling around the East side of the country, visiting as many of our Local Partners as we can.
There have been fountains, beautiful buildings, and exciting discussions with a range of people who are enthusiastic about using music in their work with children and adults, despite the barriers in their way. There is a commitment to making change happen, albeit tinged with frustration at how difficult this can be.
This morning we were welcomed into an open air music group being held for the residents of a neuropsychiatric hospital in Techirghiol. The staff received training from us back in 2000 and have really embraced it as a way to support their patients' emotional lives. One of the group members introduced a song which the group sang, accompanied by a CD, some of them using percussion instruments as they sang. The CD was turned off and each patient given the opportunity to sing solos. A range of songs were performed, while the rest of the group joined in singing, clapping or playing instruments. The session leaders' focus on the soloist never wavered. They held the large group and all their different emotional states, as song after song poured forth. Romanian law prevented us from photographing the patients and their music-making, but we were able to audio record some of their singing and we will post this online when we can.
As the group finished and we retired to the office, one resident approached me and pulled from his pocket a well-preserved photograph. "Do you know her?" he asked. I looked, and was moved to discover the photo was of one of the original music therapist volunteers who delivered the training that introduced music into the hospital thirteen years ago. Often you don't know the impact you have. Today, I felt we did.
From Alexia and Becca