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  • Writer's pictureElise

A suitcase full of instruments

The first time I heard about music therapy was when I had just finished my undergraduate degree in Interactive Media (2008).

I was deeply upset because I had completed a course which did not represent me and my personality and I had no interest to pursue. Throughout the course I spent every opportunity to use music for the projects (such as online games and and films) but overall it was too 'web designy' tech for me.

Having chosen a media course, I felt somewhat unfulfilled about my future. I had always been told that music was impossible to find work and it was better to keep it to a hobby, so that's what I did and reaching the point of graduation, I still felt something big was missing from my life.

When I returned to Cornwall after graduation, I spent 3 week nights driving round Cornwall in the dark by myself, visiting Truro, Newquay and Falmouth open mic nights. The warmth of the bars with their concoction of wildly people willing to brave the cold for music and the connection I was beginning to feel with these strangers kept me coming back week after week.

One night in Truro, a fellow with big curly hair and a big smile arrived with a suitcase. He sat on the drums and every now and again pulled an instrument out of the suitcase such as a vibraslap or kazoo adding comedy to his percussion routine. Everyone loved it!

At the end of the night, before the 40min drive home, I asked him if I could see his wonderful world of instruments inside the suitcase. I opened it up and a musicians version of willy wonka's chocolate factory exploded into sight!


"How do you have so many incredible musical instruments?"

I asked. "I'm a music therapist." he said, with a big smile."

"A music therapist? What's one of those?"


Imagine that moment being a seed, planted into my mind. The ripple effect of those simple words, paired with a smile, has become my life's ambition.

Fast forward 11 years...

I present to you a suitcase full of instruments which I have been leant from WSU for my final independent placement in the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit at Liverpool Hospital.

Although loaned to me, this shows how close I am to achieving this dream, of owning a suitcase full of percussion instruments and most importantly, knowing what to do with them!

Thank you man with curly hair, you changed my life forever. Maybe our paths will cross in the future and I can thank you first hand (and have a kazoo off).



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