In every keynote speech I start with this company’s beginnings – that JB Music Therapy actually started across the mountains in Surrey, British Columbia where I visited my grandfather at a long-term care facility – where most of the time he would be unresponsive during the visits. Prior to his stroke, Grandad regularly grumped at me and I did not feel particularly connected to him. Granny suggested that I learn Grandad’s favourite song and play it during an upcoming visit. The following week, I played “The White Dover,” a famous wartime song. I was surprised when a female patient, who would typically scream in the halls, entered Grandad’s room and began to sing along – when a male patient, who typically wandered in circles, entered Grandad’s room and sat in a chair – and when my grumpy grandfather cried. Granny arranged for me to return every week.
So what happened? This single experience made me interested in finding out.
Further research offered proof that music has a powerful effect on one’s mood and behaviour and that it was being used to encourage emotional expression, promote social interaction, and relieve symptoms (pain, depression, slurring). I wanted more.
I was inspired to apply to the music therapy degree program in North Vancouver and was particularly interested in learning more about how music could be used to connect people regardless of age or ability. The possibility to be in a career that offered people hope and connection was something I hadn’t even had the time to dream about.
After completing my degree, I relocated to Calgary, Alberta to complete my internship and afterwards founded JB Music Therapy – beginning my path to boost the profile of music therapy to this young, vibrant city. The demand seemed to grow immediately and eventually through mostly word of mouth JB Music Therapy has grown into what it is now – with weekly clinical sessions, special projects, resources, keynote presentations, and weekend workshops.
With 22 years of owning and operating JB Music Therapy, I still have so much to learn and incorporate into this business. We continue to hire new grads and seasoned music therapists from across the country and abroad – each helping this little company become what it is meant to be. We are always excited to welcome a new client and introduce Music Therapy to not only the client themselves but to their family and support systems.
The youngest client JB Music Therapy serves is 2.5 months old and the oldest is 104. The Company receives new clients each year and many clients have received music therapy services from JB Music Therapy for over 15 years, on a weekly basis.
We just want to say – thank you. As passionate as we are about our service we know how hard every agency works to ensure Music Therapy stays at their site by endless fundraising and fighting to have Music Therapy as part of the budget.
Our aim continues to be:
- to bring meaningful services, programs and resources to every individual or group who seeks it, through individual and group sessions, training, conference presentations and products.
- to create, develop and implement best care practices, at all levels of our business, promoting wellness for all who work in and are served by the company.
- to make our services completely accessible to all persons regardless of age, ability or affluence.
Cheers to you – we look forward to seeing you this Fall! and again Thank You!__________________________________________________
Jennifer Buchanan, BMT, MTA is the happy owner of JB Music Therapy and Author of TUNE IN. Our “Music Speaks” Blog aims to inspire you to use music with greater intention and knowledge. Call us to help or browse our resources here.