Music Therapy Academy launched in Delhi to train professionals to address physical, psychological ailments

“Music is widely undervalued as a powerful tool to help people overcome trauma, deal with disabilities, express themselves and respond to treatment when suffering from physical and psychological ailments,” said Australian cricket star Brett Lee while launching Music Therapy Academy here on Monday.

The Aussie fast bowler, a household name in this country, will use his profile to make the locals understand that music therapy is an established profession in which music is used to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals facing life challenges.

A project close to heart

Interacting with children from marginalised families and those suffering from autism, Lee explained comprehensively how he has been working for autism over the years and why the project is extremely close to his heart.

Noting that the academy will generate a professional network of qualified clinical music therapists who will use their knowledge and expertise to work with children, Lee said clinical music therapy is widely used in hospitals, non-government organisations and on a one-to-one therapeutic basis across the world.

Stating that music has made a big impact on his life, Lee said: “Even India has made a huge impact on my life. It brings me immense pleasure to see the two of them come together here to make a difference in the lives of kids. It is my hope to see many more of these academies established across India to train musicians to use their talent to transform lives of those less privileged.”

The cricketer revealed that he turned to music during professional problems he had faced a few years ago. Music provided relief after a bad day in cricket and everything else. Music therapy has been brilliant for me, he added.

Noted American music therapist and lecturer Lucanne Magill, who is heading this unique course, said music therapy is quite popular in North America, Australia and New Zealand. “Unfortunately, this is not the case in India. There is a big demand for this kind of work in the West and we want our students to become professional music therapists. The primary goal of Music Therapy Academy is to train students in providing clinical service to a wide variety of population. We will train children as well as grown-ups who have been affected by autism, special needs and medical illnesses like those affected by HIV or cancer, besides youngsters who were exposed to violence during their early childhood.”

Noting that she was thrilled to find a like-minded person in Lee, Music Therapy Trust founder Margaret Lobo said: “We hope that by working together we can make the important and beneficial practice of clinical music therapy as widely known across India as he is.”

According to Innovaid Advisory Services Executive Director Emily Harrison, Lee will raise awareness on how music therapy impacts people suffering from autism. “He will also fund scholarships for students from economically-disadvantaged families.”

The academy set up by Mewsic -- a Brett Lee Foundation in partnership with the Music Therapy Trust -- will train Indian musicians to master the art of bringing children as well as grown-ups affected by trauma, illness or cognitive challenges into the national mainstream.

It will not just give an international post-graduate diploma on clinical music therapy but go out of its way to make a difference in the lives of children.

The essential prerequisite for getting enrolled at the academy is that prospective students should be able to play one or two Indian or Western instruments like sitar or guitar.

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