Charlotte’s Story

Recovering in hospital, music therapy reintroduced music back into Charlotte’s life at a time when she needed it most.

Charlotte started her music therapy journey  in hospital while recovering from meningitis encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain. Music had always been part of Charlotte’s life, yet for the first few weeks of being in hospital she didn’t once sing or listen to any music. Soon into her hospital stay, she started working with music therapist Alan and together they wrote a song which focuses on Charlotte’s personal journey to recovery – they called it ‘Change’.

Charlotte said: “For five weeks I was alone with my own thoughts; they were sometimes confused and I couldn’t actually get them out either due to my speech problem. When I was playing the keyboard with Alan, I could hear myself doing things in time and it awoke the dancer inside of me again”.

Initially Charlotte’s condition affected the use of both her arms and legs, her head control and speech. It became a challenge for her to find words and when she did manage to find them, they often came out disjointed. But this began to change through music therapy as Charlotte found that she could sing more fluidly than she could speak, taking pleasure in playing the keyboard and singing songs from musicals, as she would often have done at home.

Her music therapist Alan said: “At first, Charlotte was unsure of writing her own song as it was something she had never done before and she felt she had nothing worthwhile to say. But as she started to explore and write her own lyrics, she started to face and share her experiences creatively, holding them at a distance without becoming overly emotional or sad.

“She truly embraced singing her song as it began to develop and happily shared it with staff and other patients at the morning music group. Her mood became more and more positive and she started to see a light at the end of the darkness; words which eventually became part of her song.”

Charlotte has continued sharing her song with friends and family and says she feels really proud of what she has achieved. She said: “I bumped into another patient the other day and I got referred to as the young lady who does the singing and I thought: ‘YES, THAT’S WHO I AM!’”