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Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre

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Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre

What Is It?
The ability to respond to sound and music is an inborn quality in all human beings. Pulse and rhythm are found in the heartbeat, in breathing and movement. Pitch and rhythm give the voice expressive and communicative qualities.

This inborn responsiveness to music exists regardless of disability, injury, illness or circumstances, and is not dependent on musical training or background. It is out of this innate responsiveness to music that music therapy arises.

In music therapy sessions, each child experiences music improvised uniquely with and for them. They interact and communicate musically, expressing themselves in whatever way they can - using their body, voice or musical instruments. Music therapy focuses on the client's strengths, which can make it a particularly engaging and motivating experience.

Music therapy can reduce a sense of isolation, help develop new skills that can be transferred to other aspects of life, and create new possibilities for participation in the world.

Through music therapy, children and young people are able to make huge gains, such as: improving motor skills and speech, growing their self-confidence and self-awareness, strengthening social skills, and improving memory, behaviour, and concentration.

How Is Music Therapy Used?
A music therapist is a skilled musician who has been trained to use music to reach out and help someone develop their potential, whatever their disability, difficulties or diagnosis.

The therapists frequently play piano or guitar, using their voice and other instruments. The children and young people are encouraged to make music too on instruments, to sing, and to move or dance in whatever way they choose or can manage. The therapists support the clients and explore with them all the communicative potential of their music making.

Most important is the creative relationship the child forms with their music therapist.

The therapists will not teach your child how to play a particular instrument or how to read music. However, for some children and young people, music therapy may provide a stepping stone towards music lessons.

Who Can Help?
Music therapy can help children and young people with a wide range of special needs, including those needing support with physical, intellectual, behavioural, developmental, and emotional issues.

RMTC clients include children and young people with: developmental disorders, such as autism, Rett Syndrome and Angelman Syndrome, learning disabilities, communication disorders, emotional or behavioural issues, intellectual or physical disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, Down syndrome, and dyspraxia

What Are The Goals?
Music therapy at RMTC is client-centred and goal oriented, with the key being the relationship and communication that develops between client and therapist.

The child and therapist can work towards goals such as: developing communication skills, building self-esteem and self-confidence, building relationships with others, developing concentration and attention, developing vocalisation or verbal skills, working on physical goals, such as co-ordination, working with emotional and psychological issues, encouraging self-expression and creativity, working on independence and autonomy.

The Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre was named by its founder, singer and songwriter Hinewehi Mohi, after her daughter, Hineraukatauri.

The name Raukatauri comes from the legend of Hine Raukatauri, the Goddess of Flutes, who is the personification of Music.  In Maori legend, Hine Raukatauri is the casemoth who lives in her elongated cocoon that hangs from many native trees.  Maori make a unique flute, the putorino, in the shape of the casemoth's home.

The male casemoth pupates and flies away, but the female remains in her case.  At night as the breeze blows through the cocoon, the call of the female moth to her lover is heard as a sweet but barely audible sound.  This has been the inspiration for all Maori flute music.

When Hinewehi Mohi came to name her daughter, who has severe cerebral palsy, she was reminded of the goddess trapped in her case - just as her daughter is trapped in her body, incapable of much independent movement.  Music, as in the legend, has been the means of communication between mother and daughter.  And Hineraukatauri has found a way to express herself through music therapy, at the Centre named after her and the ancestress Raukatauri.