Contributed photo Annette Rolleman is the only accredited music therapist in northern BC and works with clients from all age ranges.

Music therapy making an impact

Rolleman is the only accredited music therapist in northern B.C.

For Annette Rolleman, the importance of playing live music for her clients is a key factor.

“When you hear music being played, you’re more in the moment than you would be listening to a song with headphones,” said Rolleman, an accredited music therapist. “It’s more motivating to hear the vibrations and develop a personal relationship with the music.”

As the only accredited music therapist in northern BC, Rolleman has no shortage of clients in Terrace. When she first started, Rolleman said she had one session per month, but two years later has expanded to hosting between 10 to 12 sessions per week.

She sees people from all ages, ranging from under five years old to over 100 years old, with various types of physical and neurological conditions including autism, alzheimers, dementia and depression. In palliative care, like the burns and plastics unit in Vancouver General Hospital, Rolleman said she saw first-hand how music can help ease pain and soothe anxiety.

“Singing and playing music increases endorphins and decreases the amount of cortisol or stress in the body, which mean the pain and music receptors in your brain begin battling it out to see who comes out on top,” Rolleman said. “Sometimes, the music wins out.”

According to a paper by Sandra L. Siedlecki in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, listening to music can reduce chronic pain by up to 21 per cent and depression by up to 25 per cent. Rolleman said this kind of therapy can also help trigger lost memories in patients struggling with alzeheimers and dementia, because music has the ability to tap into long-term memories stored in areas of the brain last touched by the disorder.

“I think of medication as a temporary solution to a larger problem, like a band-aid. Working with a more holistic approach like music therapy can help patients discover the actual root of the issue,” Rolleman said.

When she realized she didn’t want to practice playing music for hours a day, Rolleman began looking into ways of combining her musical talents with her passion for helping others and said music therapy seemed like a natural path for her to take. She offers a free initial consultation with her clients and works with them to develop a list of ‘non-musical’ goals, which can range from speech and vocalization targets to learning how to manage pain and emotional distress. Invoking catharsis with her music is a huge element of her work, Rolleman said.

Upstairs in the Terrace Sportsplex arena on April 7, Rolleman set up a table filled with different instruments including drums, hand-held chimes, and coloured eggs that were used as maracas during her music therapy workshop. To begin, she played “Obla Di Obla Da” by the Beatles on guitar and led the group of 14 people in song, then brought some attendees up as volunteers to showcase various interactive methods of combining physical movement with music and tone.

Mykee Laird, a musician who attended Rolleman’s workshop, said he is really excited to hear that a music therapy practice has come to northern BC.

“Both my wife and I play music quite often, and we started a music project last year and spent the summer travelling out to villages playing music. We were actually able to see how music can be really effective in bringing peace and unity to people,” Laird said.

Becoming an accredited music therapist required 8 years of schooling altogether for Rolleman at Capilano University in North Vancouver. She said there is a huge need for more licensed music therapists in northern, rural parts of the province where access to these kinds of therapy can be difficult to find.

“The closest accredited music therapist besides myself is closer to White Horse, near the Yukon territory,” Rolleman said. She said she is supportive of eventual government regulation of the industry to make it more accessible to people across the province.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Annette Rolleman plays to a crowd of 14 people who attended her music therapy workshop on April 7 during the Health and Wellness Expo at the Terrace Sportsplex. (Brittany Gervais photo)

Just Posted

Rio Tinto donates $50K for Shames Mountain chairlift upgrades

The money was used to purchase the chairlift’s bull wheel replacement last summer

Kitsumkalum Chief Don Roberts secures seventh term, new councillor wins seat

Treaty, coastal land recognition, new infrastructure among ongoing projects

SAR leads helicopter Family Day rescue to retrieve injured climber

Pilot had to hover over waterfall as rescue team lifted two people to safety

Security guard now on patrol at three Terrace banks

Company hired to secure ATM vestibules due to safety concerns

City of Terrace to participate in provincial electronic vehicle network

City will purchase two charging stations worth up to $10K

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

Most Read