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The Mindful Music Therapist

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Mindful ListeningWhen Music Therapists rush, we can feel unprepared…for the unexpected. I remember the day I dropped my children off at daycare, raced to my first session, and realized when I got there all I had was a single drum and a shaker in my trunk. NO GUITAR…and NO PIANO at the site.


Luckily during my training at Capilano University in British Columbia they taught me to improvise and not panic (aka. fake it with confidence)…because music therapy is MORE than a guitar and a piano and even a drum and shaker – Music Therapy is about using music mindfully…with purpose…with intention…that is what makes every music therapy session unique.

The Mindful Music Therapist does TWO Things:

1. Sets their Intention

Before entering a music therapy session a music therapist takes time to not only plan a suitable program plan aimed at specific goals, they also address their own personal emotional state and take time to address their client’s long term goals and the immediate goal for the end of the session. In the case of this particular day, I had to leave my feeling of being rushed and stressed AT THE DOOR and revisit the goals of the client – in this case to feel inspired and more motivated. Essentially a music therapist must always remind themselves: What is my purpose for being here? What do I want my client to experience? What is my desired outcome for the end of the session?

2. Focus’ their Attention

A music therapy session may have a general framework but it is not something that is ever by rote. It is in a constant state of improv (musical flux) – moving from one feeling to another – flowing seamlessly depending on where the client needs to go. The energy in the room is constantly monitored and the therapist uses the responses in that happen in the moment to guide them to the next moment – this takes incredible focus and attention to details…the subtle details.

The Mindful Music Therapy has a lot on their mind during a session – their level of intention AND focus is what will make the sessions they facilitate engaging and successful.

Our Team uses a common, accessible art-form (music), bringing it into the foreground to help people speak, move, feel more comfortable in groups, and most importantly feel better about home, school, work and life.

Jennifer Buchanan, Music TherapistJennifer 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 and browse our resources here.