Man with music therapist

Gareth’s Story

Gareth suffered a severe asthma attack which caused a brain injury and left him with limited use of language, it also means he is often fatigued. But through singing he could find his voice again.

Gareth is 52-years-old and suffered a severe asthma attack in 2012 which caused a brain injury and left him with limited use of language, it also means he is often fatigued. But through singing he could find his voice again.

When our music therapist Lucie started working with Gareth she would go to his room with just her guitar and voice. He was very withdrawn, only looking up occasionally, and did not seem to get much out of the sessions.  One of his rehabilitation support workers said that he had enjoyed listening to the piano in the past, so for the third session Gareth was brought to the music therapy room where he could sit next to Lucie at the piano. She played a series of classical pieces for him – mainly Bach, Beethoven and Grieg  and also improvised in time with the rhythm of his breathing, so that he could sense himself controlling the music. 

Lucie said: “Over the next three sessions I played classical piano music with Gareth at my side, smiling approvingly and grinning if I made a mistake. He was much less withdrawn and appeared to enjoy the music, even when fatigued.  

“The real breakthrough came in Gareth’s sixth session. I started with some classical music to welcome Gareth and then moved into the song ‘Love Me Tender’. As I began to sing the first line, Gareth immediately lifted his torso to make himself more upright and looked directly towards me. I continued, and as I reached the last line of the verse ‘…and I always will’, Gareth sang it too – every word and perfectly pitched! Before this moment I had only heard Gareth say ‘yes’, and now here he was singing a whole phraseHe sang a few more words as I continued, his body completely uprightWe reached the end and I played on, asking Gareth if he’d like to sing the first verse again. He replied with a keen ‘yeah, and then proceeded to sing almost every single word with me. I repeated the last line but left it unfinished for Gareth to complete. ‘…Always will,’ he sang in a moment of deep connection.” 

Gareth and Lucie sing Fly Me to the Moon

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