To celebrate World Music Therapy Day on 1 March, we sat down with Brightwater Music and Wellbeing Project Coordinator, Hayley Antipas.
Hayley is one of Perth’s leading Registered Music Therapists and has a Bachelor of Music from the University of Western Australia majoring in Performance and a Master of Music Therapy from the University of Melbourne.
As a music therapist Hayley uses music in targeted and researched ways to help clients improve their health, wellbeing and functioning, recognising that music is part of most people’s everyday life. She is passionate about sharing music therapy skills with others so they can leverage the power of music to improve their own physical and mental wellbeing.
Hayley has been leading an innovative approach to music therapy, through the Music Pharmacy Program at Brightwater.
The Music Pharmacy is a unique program that uses evidence-based practice to link neuroscience, music therapy and psychology with music and social wellbeing. It gives our residential aged care, transition care and Brightwater at Home clients the chance to get involved in beneficial music programs, specifically tailored to their needs and preferences.
Tell us about how you chose a career in music therapy?
It was a bit of a lightbulb moment to be honest. 10+ years after my Bachelor of Music I had decided I didn’t want to pursue performance and I didn’t want to be a teacher. I wasn’t really sure how to integrate music into my life and career and was enjoying working in Oil and Gas. I happened to hear about music therapy totally by chance and just knew instantly that was the career for me and I’ve never looked back.
How do you use music therapy for Brightwater clients?
In music therapy we start with a health or wellbeing goal and then build the music around achieving that goal from a range of evidence-based music therapy methods. As an example for someone with Parkinson’s disease our goal might be for that person to improve their voice clarity and projection so they feel like themselves. We might do vocal exercises or chants, sing familiar songs, use rhythm and/or drumming to stimulate certain parts of the brain or even write original songs so they can express themselves.
My goal is to build WA's leading music and wellbeing program for aged care and disability services. I want to help as many people as possible understand how music can be used to support their wellbeing, and where relevant, experience the clinical benefits of music therapy.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
My role entails so much it’s hard to choose a favourite part. I love hearing stories from carers about them using music and it transforming their interaction with a client. My favourite though, is what I call the ‘magic music moments’, when a person seems so disconnected from their environment, themselves and everyone around them and then you start to sing and their eyes open wide, they turn to look at you, smile, hum or sing along, then reach out to hold your hand and say “thank-you”.
How would you recommend people use music as a therapy tool themselves?
Ultimately each of us has unique music preferences, personalities and wellbeing needs so the most important thing is tuning into how you respond to the music or to put it another way, being more intentional with how we use music, especially when it comes to regulating mood or emotions.
How many instruments do you play?
Well that depends on the how well I need to be able to play it for it to count! I play about six instruments although, thanks to an enthusiastic client I’ve recently become pretty good at the foot tambourine so let’s call it seven.
What’s your favourite type of music?
Honestly, my favourites change pretty regularly depending on what clients I’m working with. I like to listen to music I don’t use at work at day. Folksy, blues type music with intricate guitar patterns and mind blowing vocal harmonies tend to be a regular favourite.