Matthew’s story

For Matthew, music therapy offers a different way for him to express his personality and helps him to explore different avenues of communication

Through music, Matthew is in control and can take the lead, which feels highly significant in the context of his life.

In his twenties, Matthew acquired a brain injury in a motorbike accident that also caused multiple physical injuries. His ability to communicate was affected, and he experienced significant cognitive, emotional and behavioural changes.

A few years after his accident, Matthew was admitted to Tŷ Aberdafen, a brain injury rehabilitation centre in Wales which is part of The Disabilities Trust network of services. There he began a multi-discipline rehabilitation programme, which included music therapy.

Music therapist Lucie shares the impact that music therapy has had on Matthew:

“Matthew has been accessing music therapy for four years now, as part of his ongoing rehabilitation at Tŷ Aberdafen. Matthew uses a wheelchair and requires support for everyday tasks and communicates mostly through using gestures and electronic devices. He is always excited to attend his sessions and some days music is the only thing that motivates him.

After the first year of us working together, I began to see improvements in Matthew’s concentration and focus, and in his listening and physical control of the beater. As a result, Matthew’s phrases became more sustained, providing a stable foundation for the music we create together. Now, having developed more control in his beating, Matthew can communicate his playfulness and sense of humour more clearly, giving him a heightened experience of leading – and of catching me out!

I soon started to encourage Matthew to use his voice more, as this is something he doesn’t tend to do outside of sessions. I’d never heard his voice before and had been told by Speech and Language that he wasn’t going to regain functional use of his language. So when I heard him vocalise for the first time in music therapy, it felt significant to help Matthew develop the use of his voice. We have continued to work on this together, offering Matthew the opportunity to be communicative and express himself.

Music therapy has been a valuable part of Matthew’s rehabilitation, supporting his social, physical, cognitive and communication goals. Our musical work encourages him to be more present and aware of himself and those around him, offering a different way of expressing his personality and helping him to explore different avenues of communication. Matthew’s sessions also offer him an experience of empowerment through being in control and leading, which feels highly significant in the context of his life.”

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