“Music Hath Charms To Soothe…”;
Westboro Tunes in to Music Therapy.
His grandparents spent their retirement playing Hawaiian music at seniors’ homes and hospitals. It was their example of service to the community that inspired Landon to seek out and pursue music therapy as a career.
“They would play anywhere from 4-6 times a week—in their 80s! At a certain point, I thought, listen, they were really sharing what they had; they found a need and they filled it. I have this skill set and there are certain populations who could really benefit from having music in their lives.”
By using music, we can help kids with autism practice communicating better through musical interactions. Music therapy is helping adults with Parkinson’s maintain their gait through strong rhythms. People with speech impediments such as stuttering can benefit from music too. It’s really interesting stuff.”
Only three years ago, Arizona congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, after having the speech-producing area of her brain destroyed by an assassin’s bullet, was healed through the use of music therapy; it has been shown to be an effective, evidence-based, therapeutic tool. Music therapy was compelling enough to change the way that Coleman interacted with music and provide a career path for him.
After finishing graduate work in music therapy at Concordia University last year, he became a member of the Canadian Association for Music Therapy (music therapy.ca), moved to Ottawa, and started Counterpoint Music Therapy, a clinic focused on serving kids and teens with special needs.
“I really don’t perform too much any more, but the work I do is fulfilling and basically scratches that musical itch for me. As a performing musician, I was always looking to connect with audiences; now I’m still playing every day, but I get to use music to help people better connect to the people around them and to themselves.”
Photo Caption: Westboro’s Landon Coleman uses music to reach and teach children and adults with specific communications needs.
by Tim Thibeault.