Video: Becoming a Music Therapist

In About Music for People, MfP Stories by jan_mfp

Patricia became a music therapist using Music for People techniques in her music therapy practice as well as in her personal music making.

Patricia Mulholland: I’m Patricia Mulholland. I would say that this work has had a profound effect on my life. I became a music therapist after my work with David [Darling} and Music for People. And the name of my practice is “Be Your Note,” a quote from a Rumi poem which is very aligned with One Quality Sound. I use One Quality Sound; I use Solo/Drone, Solo/Ostinato in a variety of clinical and wellness situations.

So I’d like to tell one story. A gentleman called me and wondered if I would meet his wife who had been aphasic for 12 years with a stroke and he thought maybe it would be good to work with me. She used to sing, and so he brought her and it was presented as if I would be working with her. I sat them down, the three of us, and we begin with One Quality Sound the three of us and this was maybe unexpected by the husband, but pretty soon he was in, and then we went to Solo/Drone gently and over time Solo/Ostinato. And so now they are working and singing and being together as a couple. They’re singing songs together. He’s never been a singer — he’s harmonizing. It’s a very rewarding piece in my life and we often start with One Quality Sound.

Another way that I use this I think is with women. So I have a passion for working with women and the voice. Sometimes it’s in more of a therapeutic situation. Sometimes it’s clinical. But essentially it’s being able to make that One Quality Sound and hold it midst the chaos that you may be feeling externally and internally. And that’s very difficult for some people. So approaching this experientially and then talking about it and how does this apply to your life. Let’s say in business, when you’re in a meeting with a bunch of men and you want to make a statement, so really being your note, as Mary [Knysh] would say stepping into it, really being able to hold your note when there are there a lot of other notes around you trying to pull you in.

Finally, when I’m in my mindful moments, I will begin my music practice or music preparation I’m doing for music therapy by sitting at the piano and closing my eyes and doing a little Tai Chi piano myself. Just five minutes of improvisation, which is really which is a wonderful ritual which I don’t always do and this is a great reminder to get back to it. That often will take me into composition and often create songs from improvisation. That sitting at the piano, closing my eyes and just putting my fingers on the keys. Usually it’s this amazing chord and I just have to find it and deepen into it. The thing for me is that I quickly went to go and make something. I want to make a song out of it. The practice is for me to just stay with the chord and not feel like I have to create a product from it. Those are some ways it’s manifesting in my life.