A TRAINED music therapist has begun working in dementia care homes across Salisbury delivering creative music therapy sessions for residents.
Arash Bazrafshan, who has a BA degree in Music and an MSc in Music Therapy, relocated to south Wiltshire after completing his masters at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh.
He said: “As far as I am aware, I am one of few music therapists in the local area.
“While musical activities do take place in most care homes, there does not seem to be much awareness of the benefits of using music for therapeutic purposes, especially for those with dementia.
“I am therefore keen to raise awareness of music therapy and the benefits it can bring – these include empowerment, an increased sense of independence and the promotion of good health through creative and engaging music therapy projects and work.”
A registered member of the Health and Care Professions Council and a member of the British Association of Music Therapists, Arash has worked with both individuals and groups of people who have Down-syndrome, autism, developmental delay, mental health issues, dementia and physical conditions such as quadriplegia.
He said: “In other therapies such as counselling or psychotherapy, words are the tool used to build the relationship. “However in music therapy, music is the tool for communication and it allows for deep and direct expressions of emotions, feelings and thoughts.
“It is by no means only for people who are musicians. A person who wishes to begin music therapy does not need to play an instrument or have any musical training at all. There are many instruments for clients to use to express themselves – it could mean quietly tapping fingers on a bongo drum or loudly crashing down palms on a keyboard.”
Arash, 28, began learning to play the piano ten years ago. Outside of his clinical experience he has produced music for various short films and in 2012 performed a solo concert at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
by Elizabeth Kemble, www.salisburyjournal.co.uk, www. msidallas.com