PostRelationship Care Lesson through Music Therapy

submitted by Stephan Baker MT-BC studying the book by Julie Brown

Mindfulness and Self Awareness

The therapist begins the group with a mindfulness/breathing exercise in order to create an environment of self-exploration. During the exercise the therapist may choose to play soothing music.

“We are going to begin by fostering our self-awareness.  Each one of us will have an opportunity to use “droning” as a way of connecting with ourselves and others.”

The therapist then demonstrates droning to the group, singing and holding one note for as long as possible.  The group then takes turns droning solo.  Any member who does not feel comfortable may be excused. They may be invited to participate later.  The therapist stresses the importance for each member to hold each note as long as they can, and if possible, to focus on steadiness, not allowing the note to waver.  The therapist may wish to aid a member who is having trouble simply by droning a steady note as a reference.

At the completion of the droning, the therapist opens a discussion

Self-awareness- While you are droning, concentrate on your breath and the sound you are making.  How does the sound feel coming out of your mouth or nose?  What presents itself to your awareness? How does droning make you more aware of yourself in the moment?

Self-acceptance- Did you feel as though you did a good job?  Are you comfortable with how you sound?  Were you worried about what others thought of you?

Self-trust- Did you feel as though you could do it successfully?  Were there any doubts?  If so, what might have worked to remove them?

Building relationships with others- Do you think this exercise helped your relationships with each other?  How did it help strengthen your relationships?  How may it have hindered your relationships?

Balancing Relationships with Others:

The therapist asks two group members to work together.  One member begins droning, and the other member joins in, attempting to match exactly the note of his/her partner.  The activity continues until all have had a turn droning with a partner. The therapist might stress: “Remember to try and match the note of the other person.  This requires listening to your partner, and making changes in your own note to accommodate him/her.


The therapist then urges discussion

Types of relationships- “What are our relationships in this group?  Did droning with a partner change the way you feel about your relationship with your partner?  Is it possible we may think our relationship with a person in our lives is different than the way they see it?”

Relationship behaviors- “What are some things we can do in our relationships to make them better? What have we been doing that has been hurting our relationships?”

Reciprocity- “While we were droning, did you sense a give and take relationship?  Was it easy to listen to the other person, or were we entirely focused upon ourselves?  Do you feel as though your partner was listening to you?  Can we think of a relationship in our own life that could benefit from two-way street thinking?”

Repairing or Ending Relationships:

The therapist then asks a member who is capable of droning a steady note to begin droning.  The therapist begins droning a dissonant note, and then begins a short discussion:  “How did my not sound with Charlene’s note?”  If those two notes represented a relationship, would you say it was on-track or off-track? We would agree that in order for the relationship between our notes to work, something needs to change in order to bring it on-track.  Let’s try again.  Charlene, could you drone your note again?” The therapist then drones in pitch with the group member. A discussion follows which centers on:

Repairing relationships-“By changing my note, and being flexible, the relationship improved.”

Finding middle ground- “If I couldn’t hit Charlene’s note because it was out of my range I might ask her to sing a lower note, within my range, in order to match her.”

Steps of responsibility- “I realized that I was the one who needed to change in order to hit her note.

Ending relationships with others- “If I were unwilling to change my note, and find common ground with Charlene, or if I was screaming my note, not listening to her, she has every right to end the relationship. Are there any relationships in our own lives that we should take a good long look at in order to assess if it is doing us more harm than good?”

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