couple playing on piano

Giving Music Meaning at Muster & Mingle

We gathered once again at the Miami County YMCA Youth & Senior Center for Muster & Mingle. We had a generous spread donated by New Path Food Pantry, along with some veggies and cupcakes.

After the meal, we heard from Julie Garrison with Valor Therapeutics. Julie is Board-Certified Music Therapist and Neurologic Music Therapy-Fellow, who works with veterans and active duty service members as a music therapist. She brought Zee II, a facility working dog, with her. Zee II is named in honor of Justin Zemser, a Navy Midshipman who died in an Amtrac derailment while enrolled at the United States Naval Academy. While Zee II isn’t able to assist as a therapy dog, he is on staff at Valor Therapeutics as a Facility Working dog, which is a service dog who isn’t trained to assist a singe person but instead offers assistance and calming companionship to a wide array of individuals.

Julie began by explaining what it was that music therapy is intended to do, and how it helps active duty and veterans begin to process their trauma. Music therapists use music, within a therapeutic relationship Рsimilar to talk therapy Рto help the specific needs of a client. Through the therapeutic process of assessment, the client and music therapist develop goals that are not music-related to work towards in therapy. Music therapists use a variety of musical instruments, body percussion, and voice. Julie talked about how songwriting, learning how to play, listening and improvising on instruments and voice can help address and work through and achieve personal goals. 

Music can produce different responses not normally seen in other types of therapy sessions, and trained therapists are ready to process these emotions in real time using music or verbal means. Music therapists help retrain the brain to behave differently though specific music interventions. We experienced this in several ways during the evening. Julie began by improvising with some open chords, and everyone was feeling very relaxed. We talked about the effect of music on the brain, how certain rhythms are recognized by our brains, how they influence our moods. Julie also led us through a drumming exercise, where everyone came together to create a rhythm and we all felt very energized after that!

We were so excited to have Julie with us for this hands on demonstration of the benefits of Music Therapy! You can learn more about the work of Valor Therapeutics and learn more about the therapies they offer, click here. If you’d like to come hang out with us for a Muster & Mingle event, check out our Upcoming Events page here. We can’t wait to see you!

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