Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Clive Robbins, Developer of a Method of Music Therapy

California Poppies
I read in the NY Times December 13, 2011 issue that Clive Robbins died.  In reading his obituary, it brought to mind the power of music and how it can reach deeply into human beings.  Mr Robbins was the developer of music therapy designed to help people with various disabilities meet the physical, mental and social challenges through the use of music. Mr Robbins, a British-born special education teacher joined forces with an American pianist and composer, Mr. Nordoff to develop what became to be know as "The Nordoff-Robbins" music method.  Their method is now used by hundreds of therapists around the world to treat people of all ages with conditions such as autism, mental retardation, psychiatric illness, stroke, Alzheimer's disease and physical and learning disabilities.

Many of the Nordoff-Robbins therapists are skilled musicians who use music to mirror a patient's emotional state throughout a session,  joy, anger, sadness and all the shifts between. They also try to mirror the repetitive motions made by an autistic child.  Patients are also encouraged to join in with the music making by beating drums, strumming guitars, and singing.  Clive Robbins deserves much credit for developing and executing this research.

I believed for a long time that the power of music has the ability to change a person's mood, thought direction and emotional state. Years ago I developed a seminar that I taught around the country that was titled; "How to Get High Without the Use of Drugs or Alcohol" to young insurance agents to help them use music to move into a more positive place before making a prospect presentation. The results of this seminar have proven to be valuable to this day. The process involved listening to no more than 10 seconds of a series of 40 songs individually picked by the students that were played with matching motivational pictures on a large screen. After playing the music over several days, the student found that they could raise their motivational level without the pictures.  This exercise allowed them to play their personalized motivation tape whenever they felt a need to move to a better place.  If anyone would like more information about this motivational method, please let me know and I will be glad to pass on more details.

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