Our Music Therapy Q&A with Andrea Matchullis
Modo has partnered with the charity Music Heals around the Canada Running Series Modo Spring Run-Off 8k to support local music therapy at the Dr. Peter Centre. We spoke to Andrea Matchullis, resident music therapist at the Dr. Peter Centre in Vancouver`s West End, to learn more about music as a form of therapy and other ways to support the Centre.
Interview with Andrea Matchullis, Music Therapist
What does a music therapist do?
A music therapist forms a therapeutic relationship using music to help a client reach musical and non-musical goals. Through the establishment of this trusting relationship, clients — who are often coping with mental health challenges and trauma in addition to HIV/AIDS — can set up one-to-one sessions such as learning a new instrument or brushing up on a musical skill they may already have. In some cases, I could also have a client who doesn’t play an instrument or sing but wants to engage with music in a way that increases their quality of life. Overall, music therapy seeks to increase clients’ sense of self, their confidence and their relationships with others; empowering them to participate in the improvement of their health.
In addition to individual sessions, I also facilitate groups such as a Music Jam, reminiscing groups, and other enjoyable music-centred activities that help with positive socialization and opportunities to utilize their musical knowledge and skills.
What role do instruments, Mp3 players, your voice etc. play in your work?
Being primarily a singer myself, the voice is really important for me in how I conduct my sessions, especially in the case of sing-along style groups. Also, having trained as a vocalist, I can offer tips and exercises to clients wishing to sing more and give them encouragement to find songs that speak to their relationship with music or, on a deeper level, their relationship with an aspect of their life that is meaningful and/or challenging.
Instruments are integral to having a starting point for clients to hear and touch something that gives them feedback. At the Dr. Peter Centre, we have several stringed instruments plus pianos in three locations throughout the building, knowing that we will have someone at any time of day wanting to put their hands to an instrument. As for mp3 players, clients are very interested in having music be accessible and available to them as it is vital to their overall well being.
How does the work Music Heals does benefit the Dr. Peter Centre locally?
We have received very generous donations through Music Heals’ work in the community. We really appreciate their support in helping to keep bringing more music to some of the most vulnerable people in our city — those living with HIV, in addition to having complex health and social conditions, mental illness and addictions. With money raised from the Modo 8K, we are hoping to continue using technology to help keep up with clients’ needs plus keep our current programs fresh and engaging.
How can I support music therapy in Vancouver year round and how can I get involved?
Volunteering is a great way to see firsthand who and what your donations are supporting. See our website for details! www.drpeter.org
Thanks to all our members who have donated mp3 players for Music Heals, together we brought another 16 iPods to the program – and you can still donate!