Music Therapy Comes to Rye

Lizz Butt (State Registered Arts Therapist, Music)

The ancient healing power of music is now available here in Rye. Lizz Butt is a State Registered Music Therapist and has set up a private practise for anyone wishing to try this medium change. Her family have connections with Rye going back many years. Her Great Grandfather Mr. Mason, donated Masons field near the Tiling Green Estate as a playground for the children of Rye, and her Grandfather Eric Mason lived at South Ridge in Church Square until he died in 1976. Kiz herself has lived in Rye for three years renovating a house with her artist/architect partner.09

Since ancient times music has been used to heal, sooth and relax as well as motivate into action. Its captivating power has been utilised in all sorts of social settings, to enhance group cohesion, to add to ceremonial and to accompany important ritual. As Plato said “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, light to the imagination, a charm to sadness and life to everything”?

Bod had just lost his father. As a child of 12 with severe learning disabilities and no speech, he had no words to communicate his grief. In Music Therapy he found a small pipe, created a wistful tune, shared his grief, bewilderment and sadness, finding support in the therapist accompanying in like mood on the piano.

In a Music Therapy session, the Client and Therapist use percussion instruments that are accessible and easy to play, to improve music together, building a shared musical language and relationship, through which problems can be expressed and worked on. There is no need for musical skill to be able to access Music Therapy. There is also space for listening to music to relax and calm or as expressing a particular emotion for the Client. Liz has a collection of such instruments, ranging from large gongs and Tibetan healing bowls, to conga drums and Indian tala drums. There is also a piano and turned percussion such as zylophones and metalaphones. Sometimes the playing of and listening to music will be interspersed with talking as music can facilitate opening up in this way. Some adult clients find this combination helpful.

Peter was a highly stressed and overworked businessman. He used his verbal abilities all day in his work and needed an alternative medium through which to express and discharge his tension. He found great relief in powerful rhythms on the drums with the Therapist and also in being “bathed” in the sound embrace of the gongs.

Music has power to move us emotionally, physically and spiritually and can thus help people with problems in all these various aspects. It proves very helpful for children with all sorts of special needs, particularly those for whom verbal communication is difficult e.g those on the Autistic spectrum, with severe learning difficulties or who have suffered trauma of any sort. It is helpful for anyone with physical movement problems such as injury from stroke, accident and for cerebral palsy. It helps build self esteem and a sense of being creative and expressive. At the end of life is can provide an emotional support, peace and acceptance.

Sam has Cerebral Palsy and so finds balance difficult and lives in fear of falling. In Music Therapy he found a strong rhythm on a large drum and this brought him the relief of muscular co-ordination and a sense of freedom through which he felt better able to attempt other things and find friendships with other people.

Liz seems Music Therapy as being beneficial for all sorts of people and offers sessions to adults and children alike. She has a well equipped music room with plenty of tempting instruments to explore. As well as offering sessions as “therapy” she is able to provide times for relaxing as “stress-busting”, where people can come and listen to the instruments. She is very keen to initiate this service for the people of Rye and would welcome any informal enquiries and discussions as well as providing free “taster” sessions for people to try. Liz can be contacted on 01797 223920.

“Rye’s New” October 2004

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