Jamie's Song

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Tue, 19/12/2017

For Jamie, music therapy gave him the chance to process and express difficult feelings, following brain injury and the tragic death of his younger sister. 

In 2004, Jamie sustained a traumatic brain injury in a road traffic accident. Following three months in a coma, he began the long process of rehabilitation – re-learning how to walk and talk, and adjusting to living with the lasting effects of his injuries.

Jamie’s injury made it challenging to process and express emotions, and this challenge was made even more acute by the tragic death of his sister Angharad, following a horse riding accident. Jamie’s sister was just eighteen, and such an enormous loss has been difficult for him to deal with.

Jamie worked closely with Nordoff Robbins music therapist Jo, to write a song about his sister. After initially declining to play an instrument in music therapy, song-writing gave Jamie a musically interactive experience and an outlet to express deeply personal words and feelings, which had weighed heavily upon him.

Jo said: “The song writing process was one of close collaboration. I asked Jamie to tell me about his sister and wrote down his exact words as he spoke. From this, verses and choruses developed and as he read them out, I played an underlying piano accompaniment, listening to the rhythm and melodic line of his speech and colouring it with the depth of emotion that I felt in his words. I sang his words back to him, and the melody of his song emerged.”

Jamie has never played an instrument or sung himself during sessions with Jo, and song-writing proved the channel he needed to process feelings and emotions.

Jamie said: “You don’t know how much it’s helped me. You’ve helped me express what I was feeling. Get the words out of my head. It’s like a weight lifted off my shoulders.”

Jamie started to work with music therapist Jo, as a way to provide emotional support, as part of a partnership between Nordoff Robbins and Morriston Hospital’s Traumatic Brain Injury Service in Swansea.

Jamie’s Song is a heartfelt tribute to Angharad, which clearly and honestly communicates his feelings of loss, guilt and despair. It is also a personal achievement for Jamie, and with his permission, we are pleased to share the music here: