Blog #27 尼泊爾音樂和藝術治療關懷行動
表達自我 (Self Expression)
喚醒潛能/ 充權 (Empowerment)
加強自我/提升自尊心 (Strengthening the Self)
建立小組關係 (Building a supportive group dynamic)
我的緊張從執拾行李開始, 在眾多的樂器下選擇適合這四天的活動又能夠容易攜帶放進一個行李箱裏需要精心篩選. 因為每一樣樂器的獨特特質有不同的效果(例如鼓類能夠比較容易釋放情緒),又需要不同種類, 形狀和聲音的樂器令參加者作出不同的表達.
令我驚奇的是大部份參加者能夠一開始不含蓄,自由地利用她們的聲音(voice)作出表達. 這一節只不過到了一半的時間, 她們已經能夠自由自在地運用她們的聲音一起創作音樂, 有些創作節奏(好像beatboxing),有些唱出旋律,有些創造出聲效投入在這音樂世界裏.更加令我驚奇的是她們能夠將這個音樂繼續推進到一個壓軸部份, 令每一位有機會輪流利用自己的聲音獨唱.
這個運用自己聲音的活動去到這個境界在香港的群體裏是十分困難達到的.我們在香港從小時候的教育恍似不鼓勵用「任何不是說話方式的」聲音作出表達, 我認識的很多朋友,包括我在內,也在小學中學的音樂課裏有不良好的唱歌經歷. 我們需要站在很多同學老師前面唱歌作為考試,而很多時候被人無理地取笑,亦很少被鼓勵.從此以後, 我們討厭音樂課,討厭自己的聲音,尤其是唱歌的聲音.在香港舉辦音樂小組, 通常需要幾節的時間才能令參加者嘗試利用自己的聲音.
是否能夠自由地運用自己的聲音或許也是一個指標看得出一個人的性格是否「玩得」, 豁出去, 還是拘謹, 害羞, 害怕沒有面子, 驚被人嘲笑.
今天想探討多些不同情緒, 嘗試利用肢體動作和即興音樂引發迴響, 領導每人分享. 首先分配每人手上一個鼓. 如果沒有空間重量限制這個活動我通常喜歡用非洲鼓. 即興音樂開始了, 嘗試叫每人找回屬於自己的節奏而隨意演奏, 嘗試聆聽和用心感受大家的音樂. 觀察到這個小組有傾向喜歡 high energy 的音樂和動作, 需要在引導下嘗試相反的表達, 感受一下平靜音樂帶出的感覺. 在第二個即興音樂後, 各人也有迴響, 在分享中聽到有些對家人或朋友的思念, 有些享受這個平靜.
有很多時候, 作為音樂治療師, 其實需要相信音樂的力量. 或許我們根本不需要特定的音樂活動, 只需相信音樂創作本身能夠感染小組, 直接深入人的心而動工.
今天用了大部份的時間在歌曲創作中. 這個活動是我一開始在香港準備的時候已經懷疑這活動的可行性. 參加者只能說簡單的英文詞彙, 雖然有社工的翻譯, 語言仍是很大的隔膜, 這個活動貌似沒有可能但我堅持勇於嘗試而最後收獲豐富.
其實在第一節的時候, 我們用了簡短的五分鐘時間給他們寫出主題或想法, 大部份堅持用英文寫出. 收集了個人的紙張發現大部份環繞着兩個主題-個人愛好和夢想.
第三節的時候, 簡略講解一首歌的結構: 通常有三段, 而副歌的歌詞是整首歌的重點, 應該令人感動和迴響和加上最扣人心弦的旋律. 收集了兩個音樂上的重要意見-速度和感覺, 在結他上給她們起了一個較為中性的調子. 然後意想不到地有幾個女孩急不及待在白紙開始寫上歌詞, 其他人有些開始嘗試旋律, 有些討論歌詞的字眼運用. 看着她們入迷了地不斷思考, 哼著旋律的樣子又再一次令我目定口呆. 社工忙碌著幫我翻譯各人的意見. 15分鐘內第一節歌詞連帶旋律已經完成. 她們興奮地將已經有的部份唱出來, 而我十分專注地聆聽抓緊旋律將音和音連結. 困難在於我對這語言的完全不熟悉, 尼泊爾語言好像有些少音律存在, 有些發音難掌握. 而且她們第一次歌曲創作避免當中有音準的困難, 需要幫助她們將大致想表達的音呈現出來. 再給他們15分鐘副歌也完成了! 社工幫忙翻譯歌詞, 小組好奇地問我副歌是否足夠感動. 我示意這首歌足夠將人心融化!
歌曲關於小組對自己願望和夢想的追隨, 好像反映了各人也深深地知道自己有選擇去追尋自己想要的東西, 歌詞也反映了對母親的思念和感恩. 副歌表達了這個庇護中心朋友之間的關係, 就像知道大家是同路人, 能夠一起經歷高山低谷.
整個歌曲創作過程令我驚喜的是這個小組不需要太多的外在支援,而能夠在短時間內完成一首感人的創作. 我只是引導他們方向和大致主題, 甚至音樂上她們亦能自信地創造出旋律. 更加值得驚奇的是第一段和副歌是兩個不同調性Modes 而且能夠連結在一起. 這個過程令我很深感受, 這一刻我終於經歷靈活運用調性(modes) 的重要性. 要和其他民族在音樂上連結, 調性音樂就是那個開啟不同機會的鎖匙. 當你找到一個民族或人群能夠迴響的調性, 會更加容易打開她們的心和你分享和連結.
歌曲製作這個活動是創造機會給參加者去經歷能夠一手一腳地去製作出一樣令她們自豪, 而且又能夠令其他人欣賞而產生共鳴的東西, 在過程當中用這個機會去將自己可能埋藏了很久的心聲, 和可能埋藏了很久的技能流露出來, 並找回自己的自信心和加強自我價值觀. 而最後加上編曲的音樂給參加者一個聽得到的外在象徵標誌 (symbol), 日後可以聽回自己創作的音樂, 對自己的潛能有信心, 而這個自信心可以運用到不同的日常生活中.
兩小時的時間給小組各人對三天的音樂和藝術創作作出個人反省. 這個時間十分寶貴, 令參加者嘗試在當中領受到的, 學習到的, 感受到的全都寫出來, 日後可在重回各種的領悟. 寫出來能夠將感受和領受更加穩固和整頓下來. 各人需要時間沉澱一下自己的創作裏, 看看創作有什麼訊息告訴我們. 我們的創作不只是好聽的音樂或好看的藝術這麼簡單, 而每一樣創作的元素也許表達着我們內心深處的想法, 個人喜好, 個人特質, 透過創作流露出來而且好像一塊鏡子反映著我們的真我. 值得細心思考當中各樣的元素, 可能對自己會有新的發現.
這幾天小組各人的反應超乎我們期望的, 雖然每個女孩也經歷過創傷, 但從他們的創作和分享發現好像大部份女孩的復原能力(resilience) 和內在能力 (inner strength) 好像很高, 大部份好像擁有健康的自信心和自尊心(self confidence/self esteem), 當中有幾個清楚知道自己的夢想, 清晰自己的方向.
這個民族本身對音樂和舞蹈十分敏銳, 小組各人很容易善用音樂元素並作出回應. 各人節奏感十分強, 能夠完全模仿複雜節奏. 喜歡嘗試各樣樂器, 尤其是對結他的喜愛. 每一個能夠不羞愧地隨意運用自己的聲音唱歌或創作聲效或節奏. 這幾天的音樂治療旅程真的是充滿驚喜, 正正能夠利用音樂的力量感染每一位參加者, 提升每個人對自己的自信心及提供一個空間充分地表達自己.
Nepal Music & Art Therapy Caring Journey
We are very grateful to be invited by BVF to visit a shelter in Kathmandu, Nepal to trial run a four days music and art therapy journey with seven teenagers, using different media to express themselves and find their own voice.
Major Goal for this trip:
Strengthening the Self
Building a supportive group dynamic
These four days have exceeded my expectation, from the beginning looking at what the organizer sent out about each participant’s background I have been slightly nervous. Knowing that these group of teenagers have experienced a lot of trauma and not knowing how they would respond to music. At the end of this journey I was very surprised at everything that happened.
My tension started from packing my luggage, to choose a suitable collection of instrument to bring to the trip from a huge variety of instrument collection was a big challenge and required some thoughts. Each one of the instrument has unique properties and can achieve different effect (e.g. drums can easily release emotions), the selection also requires different shapes, kinds and sound of instrument for the participants to express different things.
First of all, we met with the shelter’s social worker and the care taker, then meeting all the girls to have a first impression of everyone. The smile from their face relaxed me immediately!
Session 1: First of all we established trust and build rapport with the group, noticing the response from each individual towards music, sound and movement. This first impression will be used to compare and contrast the next few sessions to see if there are any changes.
What surprised me first was that most of the group member can already freely, without holding back, using their voice to express themselves. Only half of the session had passed and they can already freely use their voice for music creation together, some were using their voice to create rhythm (like beatboxing), some were singing, some were creating sound effects, all are busking in the music world. Surprise after surprise, they pushed the music to such a climax where each person was able to take turns creating a solo with their voice.
This activity using the voice to such a musical extend is very very rare and extremely difficult to attain in the society in HK. We grew up in a HK where it seemed like our voice is not encouraged to be used any other than speaking. I know many friends including myself have had bad experience in secondary or primary school’s music class. We were required to stand in front of our classmate and teacher to sing as part of the exam, and very often because our voice is very different, we were being teased and seldom being encouraged. Ever since those experience, we hate music class, we hate our voice, we are afraid to use them especially the singing voice. In HK hosting music making group, normally this would take a few sessions for the participates to try using their own voice.
Whether of not we are comfortable using our voice perhaps is also a measurement to see get a glimpse of a person’s character, playful? Don’t care about other’s thoughts and comments? Or reserved? Afraid to lose face? Fear to be teased?
Session 2: We would like to tap into the world of emotions together, attempting to use movement and improvisation music to provoke a response, facilitating sharing. First of all allocating for everyone. Normally if there’s no restriction of space and weight, I would prefer to use Djembe as they don’t require much technique to play, sharper and clear sound, easier to release emotions. However, frame drum has its advantage too as its sound is deeper, usually more calm. The first improvised music has started, an instruction to ask everyone to find their own rhythm, their own heartbeat and freely play while listening to each other and feel the music. I’ve noticed that this group has the high energy tendency where music tends to be fast, loud with lots of movement. It took a bit of guidance for them to express the opposite, to feel the calmness of the music and the feeling associated with it. In the second music improvisation, everybody seems to be able to relate to the music, some expressed their sentimental feelings towards their family and friends, some expressed their enjoyment of the peace.
We have spent most of the session time on songwriting today. This activity was one where I felt highly unsure about ever since my preparation in HK. The fact that most girls can only speak simple English, even though we had the privilege of translation from the social worker, language is still a big barrier. This activity seemed like an impossible task but my determination got me to try it out anyway and I was rewarded with another big surprise at the end.
Actually since day 1, we have spent a short five minutes for the group to express their thoughts or topics they would like to write about in a song. Most insisted to write in English. As I collected all the paper I’ve summarized the two main theme: personal likes/dislike and dreams.
In my third session, after briefly explained about song structure where there are three sections, usually the chorus has the core message and theme for the whole song, and it should accompany by attractive melody that lingers in your mind. Firstly, I collected the two important musical suggestions: the speed and the feeling for the song, then I’ve started a rather neutral key on the guitar. Surprisingly the girls were so excited that they jumped off their seat and began to brainstorm lyrics on the paper, some were already trying the melody, some were discussing the use of words. I was just sitting there mesmerized looking at how they were totally absorbed into this creative process, humming melody, thinking and writing. The social worker is busy helping me to translate everybody’s idea. Within 15 mins the first verse including the melody is finished. The major difficulty in this songwriting activity with a foreign language is the fact that I am totally unfamiliar with the local Nepalnese language, it sounds like this might be a tonal language but I’m not sure. Some pronunciation of words is totally new to me and difficult to grasp and pronounce, also because it’s their very first time writing songs and melody they have difficulty singing the right pitch for specific words which needed my assistance to express their original intention with the melody. Another 15 mins even the chorus was done! Social worker helped translating the lyrics while the group curiously ask me whether the chorus is touching enough. I expressed that the song is simply touching and heart melting!
The song is about the group chasing towards their own desire and dreams, as if it’s reflecting each individual’s that they know they have a choice to choose and desire different things and chase after it. The lyrics expressed their remembrance, longing and gratitude towards their mother (most of the group member are orphans or some have lost contact with their parents). The chorus is about how they can walk together in this journey life full of ups and downs, knowing that they can support each other and have fun together.
This creative songwriting process surprised me the fact that they group don't require too much external support and can finish a meaningful and touching song in a very short time. I’ve only facilitated a general direction and topic, even musically they can confidently create melody that goes with the lyrics. What is even more surprising is the fact that the two section is in different modes and can go well together. This process has given me an insight, I’ve suddenly realized that one has to have more in-depth knowledge of different musical modes and to be able to freely utilized them. To be able to connect with many other cultures different from my own, modal music perhaps is the key to unlock different opportunities. When one can find the mode that can resonate with a specific group of people, it will be easier to unlock their hearts for sharing to happen.
Songwriting is an activity to create opportunity for participates to experience musical creation by themselves from scratch, creating something to be enjoyed by themselves and by others and can resonate with other people. During the process, many can use this opportunity to express many thoughts and feelings hidden deep inside of oneself and releasing the hidden potentials and skills that one might have, thus enabling individuals to increase their self confidence and self esteem. Also the final track with the added arrangement can act as an audible memory and symbol, where they can listen back to their creation in the future and be reminded that they have created it by themselves, trusting their own potentials and this self confidence can be used in other areas in life.
Session 4: We spent two hours for the group to reflect and ponder on over the last three sessions. This reflection time is very important as it allowed each individual attempting to write down any thoughts, feelings and insights they have received, learned and felt for them to look back to later on. Writing down also help consolidating the thoughts. It’s helpful for each person to sink in a little more with their own creation, to see if the artwork speaks to them. Our artistic creation is not as simple as creating something nice to listen or nice to see, in fact each creative element reflects our thoughts, preference, personality, character, expressing many aspects of ourselves like a mirror. It worth a closer look at each one of those elements and perhaps we can have a new discovery of our self.
Summary: The response from the group member exceeded our expectation. Even though each girl has gone through trauma, from their creation and sharing it seems like most of the girls have strong resilience and inner strength, most seem to have a healthy level of self confidence and self esteem and a few even know exactly what their dreams are and their direction.
Nepalese is a culture that is sensitive to music and dance, the girls are able to use different musical elements easily as a response. Each person has strong sense of rhythm can copy even complicated rhythm without any mistake. Everyone enjoyed trying out different instruments especially the guitar that they expressed they want to learn it. Everyone can freely, without holding back to use their voice to sing, create sound effects or rhythm. A few have demonstrated their potentials in writing music and lyrics.