There is no more meaningful assessment of the impact of The MBC’s Beyond Trauma: Youth Music Therapy program than the first-hand observations of teachers, students and staff.
"I feel more like myself when I'm playing music,” explains one middle school student. “Being able to play again here, makes me feel at ease, peaceful. I feel like I get to really express myself with music. I've gone to therapy and counseling and it never really worked for me, but this is one of the best therapies I've gotten. It feels like home."
At the Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School in New London, CT, a multi-age Special Education teacher shares that “The music therapy program has been a wonderful addition to our school day. My students have been given a way to express their feelings and emotions in a safe and creative way. Music therapy is the highlight of their week! Such an amazing program!!”
A colleague, the school’s social worker, adds that the program "has provided an opportunity for students to access a different part of their brain, that is normally not used throughout the day. It allows for students to communicate their needs, thoughts and feelings in an alternative way that may be more comfortable for them."
The impact of the program is nothing short of remarkable, and recent examples, as related by their music therapist, abound:
- A 7th grade student who has had difficult relationships with past therapists has started opening up with the music therapist in the last few sessions. It has taken a while to get to this point, but this is an exciting step for her to be able to deal with her trauma.
- A 7th grade student who has major challenges in self-esteem due to her trauma, has expressed feeling proud of herself because of things she has been able to do in music therapy, such as songwriting and piano playing.
- An 8th grade student who was a part of the program last year just rejoined the program as she had been a distance learner for most of the year. When she came into the room for the first session, she sat down, sighed, and said, “This is the best part of school, and I am so happy to be here!”
- A 7th grade student who lost her mother to illness last spring has been using piano, voice, and songwriting to help deal with her grief. She has been able to start finding her voice again after she felt it was lost because singing was something she enjoyed doing with her mother.
The music therapy program’s palpable impact on student participants is unmistakable. The music therapy room is often referred to as a “safe space,” underscoring the healing power of music and the potential the program offers, as it expands, to reach more young people who can benefit from such life-changing pathways to personal progress.