BLISS #5 Hospice Music Therapy in Japan

5 Jun

In this episode of BLISS I speak with Hisako Nakayama, a music therapist, in Hokkaido, Japan.  She has been working at hospices for 15 years and advocating for music therapy through a NPO organization called “Wa Harmony”.  Her work has been featured in the NHK news this year.

In the interview Nakayama talks about many topics including the following:

  • She was a pianist and a piano teacher for many years before becoming a music therapist. After her grandmother died at home, she became interested in hospice work.
  • She feels that her relationship with music has changed dramatically since she became a music therapist.
  • In Japan hospice care is available only for people with cancer and AIDS.  She believes it should be available for people with other illnesses including ALS.
  • In recent years more people who have graduated from university with a degree in music are interested in music therapy, because they can’t make a living as music teachers. “That’s not a good reason to want to become a music therapist,” said Nakayama.
  • As a former professor of music therapy in Sapporo Ōtani University, she has seen her former students give up on a career in music therapy. It’s very difficult to practice music therapy in Japan, because it’s not a established profession.
  • What’s important in hospice work is empathy. “My motto is ‘If I were you.’ I want to try to put myself in your situation and imagine what it is like to be you,” she says.

You can listen to the episode here.

 

 

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One Response to “BLISS #5 Hospice Music Therapy in Japan”

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