Music Therapy in Group Homes and Facilities

If there is one thing I have learned during this quarantine season, it is that there is a definite difference between spending time with someone and spending quality time with someone. My husband and I recently discovered that just sitting in the same room and watching TV together does not enhance or grow our relationship. It does nothing to help us feel rejuvenated, energized, or connected. After about a month of binge-watching Tiger King, The Great British Baking Show, Psych, and most recently, Spongebob Squarepants (yes, really), we finally realized that we had hardly spoken a word to each other. Wake up, eat, work, eat again, work some more, find another reason to eat, watch TV, probably crawl back to the cupboard for the last snack, sleep, and repeat. 

We thought we were “relaxing”, but we lost track of the balance. In times like these, where there are very few other options than to stay home, indoors, cooped up, it is easy to forget that we need to make active decisions to choose to connect. It’s not as simple as meeting up at a coffee shop or going to weekly girls’ night anymore. 

We have all had to re-learn how to socialize, whether that be by phone call, video chat, or a drive-by wave. We have also had to re-learn how to interact with those whom we live with and see everyday… every minute… all quarantine long.

As we are all learning how to reconnect with those we live/quarantine with, I can’t help but think about how powerful music therapy could be in these quarantine-inflicted group settings.

Music therapy has an amazing power to connect people beyond what words are capable of. Music therapists are trained to use music to meet the needs of all individuals, despite the differences in personality, ability, functioning, communication, physical capabilities, etc. 

It is during these times that I miss going out and connecting with clients, and my mind drifts especially to group homes and facilities. These homes/facilities have had to make major changes in their procedures recently, and the staff have worked day and night to ensure the safety and health of the clients they serve. For most group homes/facilities, this means that they have had to cease all unnecessary activities including in-home therapies and out-of-home trips/excursions.

Because of this recent isolation and drastic change in the client’s lifestyle, music therapy would be immensely beneficial in group homes and facilities. Especially in times such as these with COVID-19 causing doors to be shut and programs to be cancelled. Many adults in group homes and facilities are unable to attend their daily events and routines, and are left without the many resources which once helped them to grow and enjoy life. 

Music therapy can help:

  • Create a new routine which provides structure to their day/week
  • Provide opportunities for positive social interactions with their peers and staff
  • Allow clients to express themselves creatively through musical performance and improvisation
  • Bring joy and energy to the clients’ lives
  • Provide therapeutic benefits which are tailored to the unique needs, capabilities, and preferences of the group

In order to best fit the needs of the present situation, Harmony Garden Music Therapy Services now offers telehealth music therapy services, which take place on an entirely virtual platform, utilizing Google Hangout video chats to serve clients from their homes or facilities. These services allow music therapists to facilitate sessions via livestream interaction or through personalized, pre-recorded sessions. Telehealth has created endless possibilities for music therapy sessions, as they can be scheduled to best accommodate the group home’s/facility’s schedule and technological capabilities. To learn more about these services, please click here and consider sharing the gift of music!

-Hannah Avery