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How Music therapy began at HDHQ

Music therapy was introduced into the long running Social club in late 2018. Facilitated by Xiaoyan Lu (Lulu), a music therapy student from Western Sydney University . The structured activity was interactive, inclusive and educational, and was aimed at improving a person’s quality of life (QoL). Within this active music therapy program an evaluation tool measuring people’s motivation, enjoyment, emotions and communication was compiled that could assist with further research into gauging gains in health and QoL benefits.

The club members accepted Lulu’s challenge to learn Christmas songs as a group and a few chose to play guitar and ukulele solos. Everyone’s hard work was on display at the Christmas concert, and a sense of pride was evident in the smiles that followed roaring applause.

The reins of our new look Music and Social club were handed to Cathy from Delicious Harmony Music Therapy, for two terms while Lulu enjoyed maternity leave. Cathy considered her time with our members as a “privilege” and was grateful for the warm welcome she received at each session. Members particularly enjoyed playing the drum where they were challenged to use their hands to cross the midline of their body and to use their voices to improvise/vocalise while they played. Handbells were used by participants to follow the beat and play on time for their note. The smiles on members’ faces demonstrated that they were having a wonderful time playing music together.

The Social club then changed format in 2019 as our organisation adjusted to a loss in overall program funding, retiring staff and veteran volunteers. The therapy-based model used for the Art club was adopted; session time was reduced, lunch was replaced with a snack, and Music therapy became a permanent activity alongside a few hardcore games of UNO.

Lulu returned in October 2019, and in February 2020 a partnership was been formed with Harmony Direct Music Therapy and Education to run a new look Music and Social club. Sadly, this activity ceased in March due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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