Music can be a great motivator, so whether you want to improve your speech, lift your mood or enhance your recovery exercises, music therapy can help.

ECH Registered Music Therapists are allied health professionals who use music to assist clients improve both cognitive and physical conditions, often working in partnership with Physiotherapists, Speech Therapists and other allied health staff.

How can ECH Music Therapy help?

Music is personal to all of us. It can make us happy and energised, relaxed and calm, or it can evoke memories. Music Therapists use music, and how it makes us feel, as a tool to assist in a wide range of health conditions including Parkinson’s, Dementia, recovery after stroke, PTSD, anxiety and sleep difficulties.

Music therapy varies depending on your needs. It could be doing your physiotherapy exercises to a piece of music you love to make your recovery more enjoyable, or it could be using singing to help with breathing and word formation to support work you are doing with a Speech Therapist after a stroke. You don’t need to be musical to benefit from music therapy.

Each client’s needs are different so during your initial consultation your Registered Music Therapist will ask you about what you are doing with other allied health professionals, what you want to achieve and what music you love. They will then work with you to develop a personalised and enjoyable treatment plan.

Common music therapy goals include:

  • maintaining or improving speech volume if you are losing your voice due to a condition like Parkinson’s so you can be heard in cafés when socialising
  • communicating needs and wants again following speech difficulties after a stroke
  • help to calm a person with dementia that you care for so that you are able to assist them in daily tasks
  • improving walking, especially gait issues related to Parkinson’s, working on balance, stride length and pace
  • reducing anxiety, stress and just feeling happier and more motivated to engage in activities and life
  • improving physical function in one area of your body, e.g. improving wrist and arm strength
  • being able to get a good night’s sleep

Each care plan is personal, so your goals may be different to those shown here, these are a guide to show how music therapy can benefit in many areas of everyday life.

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Your Registered Music Therapist will develop a personalised program to help you achieve your goals with sessions that could include:

  • listening to and talking about music you love and memories they evoke
  • singing familiar songs together
  • music-assisted relaxation, through both live and recorded programs
  • moving to music
  • playing small hand instruments
  • writing songs to reflect on experience or memories

Music helps Irene regain her independence

After a stroke, Irene was left with a loss of function in the right side of her body and she began working with a number of ECH allied health professionals.

As a lover of music, Irene found music therapy was the perfect motivation for her to complete her stroke rehabilitation.

“I became involved in music therapy at ECH Wellness Henley Beach after my stroke,” says Irene.

“When I was younger, I was a professional singer, so being involved in music again makes me feel great and also helps with my overall wellbeing.

“Music therapy supports me with the exercises and techniques that I do in speech therapy, physiotherapy and neurological rehabilitation sessions.”

Irene’s goal’s included reversing a lip droop caused by the stroke, which she achieved through simple singing exercises.

She also had a goal to hang clothes on the washing line with her right arm again, and through a music-based activity which involved lifting her arm and clicking a castanet she is now happily hanging out the washing again.

Service locations and fees

Appointments with an ECH Registered Music Therapist are available in ECH Wellness Centres at College Grove and Henley Beach or they can visit you in your home.

Whatever your age, ECH wellness services are available to you on a self-funded basis. You do not need a referral from your doctor to access the services of an ECH Music Therapist.

If you are aged 65 years or over, you may qualify for a Home Care Package (HCP) and you may be able to use some of this funding to access ECH Wellness services, including music therapy.

To learn more about ECH music therapy or to book a consultation, call ECH on 1300 275 324.