Using music within occupational therapy

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Music is important for all cultures and at all stages of life.  Human occupation and meaningful activity are a key part of occupational therapy.  Enabling participation through music to make it meaningful for clients is a blend of musical and occupational therapy.

Listening to music, and making music is an occupational activity for humankind, and has been for thousands of years.  It has cultural and social value and is a meaningful medium to use with clients who have disabilities or chronic conditions.

Activities that give life meaning should be prioritised for older people who may be bored and isolated, and people who have difficulty doing what they enjoy due to disability or illness.

Occupational therapy evolved from the arts and crafts movement during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when patients were prescribed activities such as gardening and carpentry after a period of bed rest.   After the first world war occupational therapy evolved as casualties from the war were supported to gain the skills they needed for the workforce.

More recently the profession has decreased the use of arts and crafts as a treatment medium, but there seems to be a growing rational in other professions that doing activities that you like is good for your health and well being.  Research printed in the Telegraph states:

“Engaging in creative behaviour leads to increases in well-being the next day, and this increased well-being is likely to facilitate creative activity on the same day.

“Overall, these findings support the emerging emphasis on everyday creativity as a means of cultivating positive psychological functioning.”

Meaningful activities give life meaning and purpose.  My approach uses my occupational therapy skills to enable access to making music as a social and therapeutic occupation.