Blog #1 The Question Everyone Asks.
The question everyone asks. I thought it would be very fitting to start my blog with the dying question that everyone has asked, prepared to ask or felt a strong urge to ask whenever I introduce myself as a music therapist. “So why did you become a music therapist?”
Usually in a face to face conversation, I’m well prepared to answer with the extremely condensed version “I just wanna use music to help people.” But here I’m delighted to share with you all the super long version..(if you are willing to read along.) In the beginning….
Music is my life.
It all started as a young child at the age of 3 enrolled in a music playgroup which I have very vague memory except the instant where I was falling asleep in my teacher’s arm trying to learn the Solfege system. At the age of 6 I was being forced into some unpleasantly intensive piano lessons and practice for three years. Piano lesson meant restriction, perfection, smack of fingers, tears and pain……
…..Well I guess I still have the cut the super long story short…… I almost gave up on music….until a very important piano teacher appeared along the way, motivating me to get back into piano playing and reignited my passion for music. After graduating with a music degree, I did consider becoming a conductor, a film music composer or getting into the pop music industry.
One day, my childhood dream of performing on stage with an orchestra and my teenage dream of conducting my own composition and pop arrangement came true. Dreams that I thought were only dreams happening right in front of me. Glorious moment on front stage, great sense of emptiness hit me at the backstage. There was a sudden realization that my music has no meaning except entertaining the audience, making them feel like their concert ticket was worth the money. Neither my music nor my presence on stage will be remembered by any audience after they left the concert hall. It’s like what Soloman said in Ecclesiastes 1:14 “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”
Transitioning towards music therapy
After a period of exploring different music industries, it finally forced me to reconsider the meaning of music. I was searching for an area where music is much more than simply entertainment or art. I want to use music meaningfully, that I can connect with my audience, to inspire and make a long-lasting impact in someone’s life.
The start of a new phase in my journey of becoming a music therapist all started from a random article given to me by my mum about a Hong Kong music therapist. Her works with special needs children and adults inspired me to research more into the field and led me into a music therapy introductory course. The videos of some music therapy session shown by one of the local music therapist resonated something inside of me and I knew this is the path I want to pursue. I saw how music could be so practically used to improve and restore someone’s life. I saw the healing, restorative and enlightening power of music. Particularly enjoy the fact that it’s not so much the musical sound produced but the process of music making that makes an impact.
Becoming a music therapist
The journey of becoming a music therapist has been both a joy and a challenge,
From the initial application into the course, to surviving the UK weather and culture, to working with challenging client groups, to working with my own psychotherapist dealing with my own personal issues, to consuming the never ending journal papers and books, to writing the never ending final thesis, to survive the anxiety-provoking ‘experiential group’, to gaining confidence playing music without sheets……. It was a journey of transformation.
Many stories to tell from each step of the way and I will share with you all those little ups and down I’ve experienced in this blog.
17 Oct 2016, written by Esther Y.W. Wong