Music and Healing

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Pursuing Music’s Healing Effects

The Music program at Grebel and the University of Waterloo consistently appeals to students who are looking for a balanced and broad music education. When searching for a program that fit him best, student Tyler Reidy immediately felt comfortable when he arrived at Grebel for his pre-enrolment studio audition. “The faculty was incredibly welcoming, the students were encouraging and excited to get to know me during my audition process, and Grebel was small enough that I was immediately drawn to the community.” Tyler maintained a strong link to the department through all four years of his university career, and he is now set to graduate this spring with a Major in Music and an Intensive Music Specialization.

tyler“As I reflect on my four years here at UWaterloo, I truly believe that I’ve been spoiled with the support of my amazing professors, incredible classmates, and small class sizes” he noted. “I’ve had the chance to perform a graduation recital, conduct and compose an honours thesis, compose for the on-campus orchestra, perform in a variety of ensembles, and gain vast knowledge on all aspects of music.”

Pointing to classes he took such as “Music Cognition” and “Music, Health and Healing,” Tyler praised the unique approach that the Music program takes. “Asking ‘Music and what?’ allows students to investigate music in a variety of new contexts that many of us would not normally consider.” During these courses, he began to think about music’s effects on the body, and took his music healing knowledge to a new level, including research on the benefits of sound healing and meditation with the use of singing bowls.

These musical connections led Tyler to a volunteer position at KidsAbility Centre for Child Development in Waterloo where he is a Music Therapy Assistant. He assists during musical activities and helps children participate who have been diagnosed with various disabilities. He works to target specific behavioural and social goals as well as therapy-related goals that include the use of singing and instruments to encourage music making and socialization. “This work is incredibly rewarding,” reported Tyler. “It’s amazing to actually see the therapeutic effects of music and to be a part of that process.”

After completing an Honours Thesis with Music Professor Laura Gray on the topic of “Benefits of Modified Music Education for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Early Childhood: Intersections with Music Therapy,” Tyler knew what his next step would be. He has been accepted into the Music Therapy Master’s program at Wilfrid Laurier University. “I couldn’t imagine pursuing another field of work,” he explained. “I’ve always enjoyed connecting with people, especially with music, and want to use my love of music to help others. The uniqueness, healing and therapeutic benefits of music are endless.” In the future, he hopes to work in pediatrics and neonatal music therapy in a large hospital environment.

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