Ep. 16: Music, the universal language: Transcending language barriers in music therapy

This month, we're sharing with you a story from Asami's work with a young person of refugee background, who was new to Australia and experiencing homelessness.

The story begins with this young man who attended Asami's weekly drop-in music program and participated by touching and playing every single instrument in the room throughout the session. Despite his obvious enthusiasm, Asami struggled to integrate him into the group activity as he spoke almost no English. 

Walking away from the session, Asami questioned how her program could best be adapted to meet the needs of this young person, and subsequently all other young people she did not share a language with.

There had to be a way to connect without the logistical nightmare of getting an interpreter in at the same time as the young person's infrequent visits; as they say, music is the universal language, right?!

On this episode, you'll hear how Asami overcame language barriers by using technology to provide therapeutic support to this young person.

There's nothing new in the intervention, but it is a reminder to us all that technology provides a strong tool to build social connection and considerate use of it can enhance our capacity to work with those who we do not share a language with.