Dawn’s Story

Dawn has seen her confidence and self-esteem transformed after being helped to reconnect with her life-long love of music. 

Music has played a huge part in Dawn’s life. Her earliest memories are of singing with friends and family in the air raid shelters during the war. After studying classical piano at university she pursued fellowships from several prestigious conservatoires and started her own music and dance school in her hometown. 

However, at the age of 40 Dawn had a massive stroke, and everything changed. She lost the ability to walk and talk, which she eventually regained, but what was most devastating to her was that she lost the ability to play and read music. The sound of music was unbearably grating to her ears and, although she later became able to hear music again without this physical discomfort, the emotional discomfort of what she had lost never quite left her.   

Dawn is now 82yearsold and has been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. After meeting music therapist Jenny, she immediately expressed an interest in attending individual music therapy sessions to regain that love of music she had lost so long ago.   

Dawn said: “Since I started coming to work with Jenny, it’s like I now have all the good memories of music again. It’s washed out the bad memories of times when I was stopped from playing. It’s like a new beginning, music really is a healer. 

At the start of her music therapy sessions, Dawn spoke passionately about her relationship with music and how much she wanted to play again, but little active music making actually happened. Jenny, her music therapist, felt that Dawn was putting it off and spoke about music as a barrier to avoid having to face what she believed she had lost.   

Jenny explained: “When  we did get round to playing music together Dawn lacked in confidence and would dismiss both her playing and singing as being rubbish, always comparing herself to how she used to sound.    

But everything changed when  I found out that  she enjoyed writing poetry and asked her if she would be interested in writing a song based on one of her poems. She was hesitant at first, but carefully guided her through the process and made sure she was in control of all the musical decisions.  

Once the song was fully written and after hearing the recording for the first time, with tears in her eyes Dawn told Jenny, “That wasn’t half bad!”