Being an egoless musician

 

It's been a pretty quiet few weeks since my last performance, but I have been busy with more music things, this time from the therapeutic perspective. I am so inspired from the events of my day that I want to share it with you here. I'm currently on placement at a major hospital for my music therapy study. I have had the privilege of seeing the power of music positively affecting people in need where other allied health services cannot assist.

  

Today I played piano for someone who is at their end of life. I played for them Chopin pieces that I 

 learnt when I was 10, the Moonlight Sonata (1st movement) I learnt when I was 12, and the Debussy Clair de Lune when I was 14. The playing was altered to address therapeutic needs, in doing so to support their breath and enhance relaxation in case they are in pain. The session lasted for 30min and by the end of it, their breathing slowed down, inhalation was longer and facial expression was completely relaxed. These are accepted indications of a positive outcome with music therapy. I was amazed.

 

This is a completely egoless way of playing your instrument, which I find is a very holistic way of being a musician. Yes, something completely different from what it was like being trained vigorously through the Conservatorium but then, the consolidation of skills and technique is what makes communication effective. What brings music alive is the meaning and intention behind it.

 

I am hoping that by the end of my course, I can somehow find the intersection between being a concert performer and a therapeutic musician. More to come, as my next placement is in palliative care. 

- Natasha Lin

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