Updated: Mar 16, 2022
The song is such a powerful medium! It is one of the very few widely-accepted forms of emotional expression in so many cultures. Within a song it is okay to be sad, it is okay to express anger, it is safe to tell some of your story. Also, music gives us a full neural-pathway workout! - all parts of our brain are firing up when we engage with music, and in particular when we engage in music-making. Added to that it makes direct connections with emotions, with memories, with our sense of self. Therefore the song can be an expressive medium that helps us to bypass some of our self-censorship and offers us a way to connect our words with our feelings and not have to explain any further; it is contained and ‘complete’ as it is presented - no further questions asked.
As a music therapist, I facilitate many people in expressing themselves through writing their own song and I have witnessed the power that it offers individuals as they hear back their unique voices (whether in physical or written voice, or preferably both!) and then it is theirs to share either through performance or through a recording. This offers a means of expressive communication with friends and family which can often cross barriers of isolation. It is a powerful gift that one may leave at the end of their life, a way of expressing loss for the bereaved, a means to move through frustration when living with a chronic condition, an alternative communication to give voice to those who otherwise are seldom heard.
The songs that you will hear alongside their stories are examples of all of these. It is one product of our music therapy journey and not the whole picture, but it gives a snapshot of the uniqueness and beauty of every life that has its own distinctive voice. They are all celebrations of the rich complexity of life - whether they are intensely sad and challenging to hear, or are full of love and romance.