Delivering Music Therapy During COVID-19

A Secondary Epidemic

We are all connected in our shared experience right now: changing routines, isolating from friends and extended family, working from home and caring for children out of school. Many are anxious about the stability of their jobs, the hemorrhaging of their retirement funds, the health of older parents and the effects of all of this disruption on their young children. As uncertain and disjointed our lives are right now, the upheaval of normal routines is being felt even more acutely by some of the more vulnerable members of our communities.

Seniors, already susceptible to loneliness, are not allowed visitors in their nursing homes, and many facilities have discontinued gathering together in common areas. Isolated in their rooms, these folks are now without the emotional support of their larger community or the comfort of their routine activities.

Similarly, adults and children with disabilities have also seen a disruption to their daily lives, and the support they receive, as day programs suspend services, schools close, jobs are paused and socialization programs are discontinued. As jarring as all of these changes are to the rest of the community, it is multiplied for individuals with special needs, and the families trying to support them.

During this time, physical distancing does not have to mean social distancing. While it is important to create physical space between all of us to stop the spread of COVID-19, we need to maintain social connections however we can. Music can help facilitate and build upon those connections and provide a way to strengthen bonds even during this time of physical distancing.

What a Difference a Week Makes

Last Monday, the management team at Roman Music Therapy Services met in the office for what would be the last time, face to face, for the foreseeable future. By that time, many schools in Massachusetts had already made the decision to close for two weeks, some for more. Many of our senior clients in nursing homes were not allowed any outside visitors and we had made the decision to conduct our Sprouting Melodies early education music programs remotely. At this time last week, things looked a little scary in the short-term, as they probably did for many of you.

As a team, we spent much of the time collaborating and still engaging in the music whenever we could, and strategizing how Roman Music Therapy Services could truly be of service to our clients and the larger community. Virtual music therapy was not something we had done before, but we realized that it was the perfect way for us to provide our clients with the reassurance of a familiar face, and the routine of an enjoyed therapeutic intervention.

Our virtual music therapy sessions can:

· Provide a sense of social and emotional connection

· Decrease feelings of isolation and loneliness

· Promote reciprocal social interactions on both sides of the camera

· Share familiar and comforting music which can provide grounding in a time of uncertainty

· Give primary caregivers a short respite from having to be “on” in caregiver mode all the time

· Provide a scheduled activity to look forward to on the calendar

Virtual Music Therapy in Your Home

Roman Music Therapy Services is equipped and ready to deliver music therapy services to our clients, established and new, virtually. All you need is a smartphone, tablet, or computer and we can walk you through the rest! If you’re looking for something particular or trying to solve a unique challenge, let us know. We love to brainstorm and would be happy to try to create new solutions with you.

Visit our website or contact us to learn more about what we can do for you or your group.