Spring—The season to have a breather. Every year, from late March to early April, I have a little break in my work schedule. Looking forward to this time, I keep running for weeks and months. "In the spring break, I will order my work space to make it more convenient; I will read the books that suit to my own heart; I will have a time to play my own music; I will arrange the children's toys and create an exciting play-time together; I will go out to town and meet people in my region; I will go to at least one movie or concert....." However, spring is a season too unstable and moody, to receive all of such hasting dreams firmly. Just one gust easily carries me up on its shoulder and pens me in the caves of melancholy.
Spring...The season of tax declaration. The break started with this task. I am forced to face the calculator and the documents that I am never good at. Looking at all the result in figures, I am confronted with the increase in the risk of income, and increase in the amount of expenses relating to the work. What have I been doing during the last year? Am I a beneficial person for the society? I understand and convince myself that my kind of work cannot be simply conversed to money, but the society in general does not admit such logic. It strictly claims me to convert every behavior in my life into money: work reward and work expense, nursery expense results from my work, etc. etc. Something in me starts to moan with doubt, anxiety, and self-criticism. Am I just a fool sticks to unrealistic fantasy? If not, I want to state clearly how my work functions and how it settles with the real society.
Spring...The season of fiscal year end and farewell. In the children's center I have been volunteering as an assistant, the music therapy sessions with the 2-3 year old handicapped were terminated. Most of these children were found to have autistic features, received their first therapeutic/special education here, and were divided into the several next steps such as special nursery, general nursery, or general kindergarten, etc. For the parents and the children who have just started their path with the burden of handicaps, even just commuting to this center in the indicated time of the week must have been a never easy task, physically and psychologically. I can feel it as a parent of three years old children. At the same time I also feel the unique being of each child with his/her own temperature, breathing, and personality. They appeal with all his/her might breaking through the autistic features, "Look at me, meet me as I am!" To me, every child overlaps with my own children, as the unconditionally precious creatures. I become eager to let them flap their own wings freely in music. However this center is a so-called transitional placement and its main role is not to start the long-run therapy here, but train them to gain the first step social skill for the next possible placement choices. Therefore, music therapists too are requested to treat them within many rules and structures. The music time is merely one short scene of their complicated schedule. Only the last day of the fiscal year, we were able to hug the children running up to us, and to make them play a little longer on the instruments they stick to. Then, we saw off them and their mothers leave the music room toward their decided direction. In the both sides of mothers and us mixed feelings remained, but it was not the right time to communicate it openly. Left alone in the empty room, looking to each other, we felt nameless tiredness to the reality and the prayer to the children who are already away from our hands. It is not simple to pursuit the ideal of music therapy in the existing social systems.
Spring...The season to look at the year book and the list of the work requests, to schedule the next fiscal year. It makes me think what direction I want to develop my work. To begin with, I decided to review my own lecture "Music in Music Therapy – Affirming the Standpoint as a Musician and as a Human-being, --" which I did in last February for a regional conference. I decided to review it because I put a great effort on this lecture, and in a way it was my conclusion of the last fiscal year. It meant peeing into myself after the excitement cooled down in one month; what kind of a person am I with what kind of statements, and how do they look like from the objective eyes? The points I tried to make were as follows, with the various clinical examples.
Reviewing the DVD of the lecture, however, my presentation seemed to be not cultivated deeply enough as I wished, and not powerful enough to convince the practitioners. This impression directly connected to question my own attitude as a music therapist, and shook my identity fundamentally. My first question how I construct the next years work, was brought back much former point.
Spring...The season to have a breather. The season of melancholies which is hard to sense while running chased by the everyday urgent tasks. Now I am fully aware that I am tired physically and psychologically. I hope I can take enough rest, raise my energy level, open up a new sight, encounter the new things/people, and recover the sense of living fully. I want to store enough power to take off the old self, and bathe myself in the warm sunshine to support my molt... I took a deep sigh here, and heard something whispered in me. "That is exactly the kind of music therapy work you wish to do: to create such a space for others!?" Then I recalled a phrase of one author: "There are so many who want to be healed in this modern society. However, only those who stood up to heal others have a slight chance of it (Arai, n.d)."
Spring.... The season I hear the squeaking sounds from many spots in me; The season to start creating a new form of work out of them. A little hope.
Arai, Man (n.d.). Iyashi no Yukue [The Direction of Healing] The NHK Television program. (新井満、NHKテレビ「癒しのゆくえ」において.)
Bruscia, Kenneth (1998). Defining Music Therapy (Second Edition). Gilsum, NH: Barcelona Publishers. (生野里花訳「音楽療法を定義する」.東海大学出版会. 2001.)
Stige. Brynjulf (1998). Aesthetic Practices in Music Therapy. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, 7(2).
Ikuno, Rika (2005). Melancholy in Spring: A Reflection of a Music Therapist. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. Retrieved June 10, 2013, from http://testvoices.uib.no/?q=fortnightly-columns/2005-melancholy-spring-reflection-music-therapist