I was introduced to music at a very young age. I picked up my first instrument – the trumpet – at age six with the Salvation Army youth brass band. Around this time I also started singing in the youth choir, learning basic theory, and reading music. When I was around ten years old, I was asked the question: why are you apart of these groups? My answer was, “I always knew I would be. My whole family did this, I love the friends I am making, and I just happen to be good at it.”
Eventually, I became more than “just good at it.” I became interested in music in all its forms. I was introduced to recorder playing, violin playing, piano playing, xylophone choirs, saxophone playing, wind ensembles, jazz bands, and more. I graduated to the Salvation Army senior brass band allowing me the opportunity to play in the community. We played on every floor of the hospital on the first Sunday of every month. We played all around the island during the Christmas season including a full night of carolling on Christmas eve. We also visited rest homes, homeless shelters, addiction centres, and hosted services in accessible public spaces. This is when I discovered the impact music had. This art form suddenly had more meaning to me than ever before. I learned that music connects people. It inspires people. It comforts people. I knew that I wanted to use music in a way that would foster relationships, build community, and promote healing.
I think it is important to note that until this moment I did not know there was any practical form of pursuing music as a career other than to become a performer, composer, or teacher. I did not want to do any of those things long-term and so, I am very grateful for google. Without google, I may never have known that music therapy existed as an achievable, evidence-based profession. I may never have discovered just how much of an impact music can truly have. I may never have known the science behind music and its impact on the body. I may never have had the courage to try something no one in my community had ever heard about.
I am grateful for google. It led me to discover the Bachelor of Music Therapy Programme at Acadia University in Wolfville, NS. I studied there for 4 years becoming proficient in guitar, voice, piano, classical saxophone – learning from talented and motivated professors and colleagues. It was a small school in comparison to others but I grew up on a small island called Bermuda. So, for me, the close knit community felt like home. I grew as a person and learned so much during my time at Acadia.
After my Bachelor’s degree I was more inspired and motivated than ever to start my career in therapy. I travelled to Perth, ON to complete an 1000-hr internship under the mentorship of Nicola Oddy and Rebecca Worden. Their words of encouragement and guidance taught me invaluable lessons about the power of my voice, the innate impact of music as our primary tool, and the importance of meeting people where they are. I continue to carry these lessons with me throughout my music therapy practice here in Kingston, ON.
Moving to Kingston and working with Find Your Voice has been an incredible experience. I have met amazing people, their families, and listened to their stories as their journeys unfold. I have been overwhelmed by the support and community Kingston and area has offered to me. I continue to be passionate about connecting with people, giving people the opportunity to be heard and validated in whatever stage of life they are in. I continue to be passionate about removing the stigma associated with certain diagnoses and removing the general expectations of what a person is thought to be able to accomplish or feel. At the end of this journey, I hope nothing more than to have achieved the following:
2. Respect toward all people no matter their age or diagnosis.
3. Peace of mind for clients and their families.
Hayley Francis Cann