News - 22.06.2022

Movin' with the CSO

“Well, that got everybody smiling!” says music therapist Kimberley Wade as the last notes of Can Can fade away. Sitting amidst gym equipment are people living with physical and neurological disability and they have been collaborating alongside Christchurch Symphony Orchestra musicians as part of a Music Movement Group from Southern Music Therapy.

Group members and CSO musicians are gathering weekly at The Granada Centre – a transitional rehabilitation service supporting people with a range of needs. The team at Southern Music Therapy collaborates with the broader team of physiotherapists and occupational therapists, to support clients in residential care and from the community.

Grant, who lives with aphasia, sings along when the group plays Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds and keeps the beat with a drum.

“Music therapy can help clients like Grant, who have challenges putting ideas into spoken language, to practice and improve communication over time,” says Wade. “Physical rehabilitation is also built into the practice – whether that is reaching for the drums, holding a beater in an affected hand, or standing for longer periods of time.

“We really value and acknowledge the energy that the CSO musicians bring to this collaboration, their inclusive approach is great and aligned with how we work alongside clients.”

“It's an honour to join the music-making that forms the foundation for this form of therapy,” says CSO Associate Principal Percussion Roanna Funcke, who adds that these sessions are highlight of her week. “There is so much joy in the room as music is used to find and re-learn the rhythm of our bodies' everyday movements.”

Another member of the group, also named Grant, wasn’t able to make it to today’s session but has been to previous ones, and he says having the musicians there really “adds to the music”.

“I quite like playing percussion,” he says as he mimes hitting the drums. “It’s good exercise for my arms.” He says he’s not a musician, but has always loved music, and the best part of the sessions is simply getting together with everyone else and playing together. It breaks up a “boring” day. It also helps him with his exercises as he doesn’t notice he’s doing it while he’s having fun playing music.

Scott, a skilled drummer, really enjoys listening to the different instruments, especially the violins and the clarinet. “It’s quite good to play on the drum kit with other people. I like performing with other people rather than just by myself.”

Participant Susan says that the music helps to lighten the group’s mood. “I just love that the musicians are so willing to participate.”