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I am a third year B.A student at Ranjung Yeshe Institute. Apart from studying at RYI, I also work as a freelance music therapist and musical artist. Last fall semester, I got an opportunity to facilitate music therapy sessions for RYI students at the newly built meditation room in Utpala Café. We would meet most Monday late afternoons and engage in an hour of musical activities. The activities included chanting, music and movement, and various self-reflective exercises. These sessions were open to all RYI students and occasional guests were also welcome to join us. It was a heart warming experience for me to offer my services to fellow student friends and their guests as this was the time where we could share our thoughts, connect with each other, or just sit silently in a safe musical space.
The sessions were filled with enthusiasm and reverence for one another. It was a meaningful opportunity for us to get to know each other besides class room settings. During the sessions, we were using music as a tool to enable ourselves in creative expressions and mindful explorations. Additionally, we were also practicing clam and ensuring that we participate in it with self-awareness. The musical exercises were also helpful in reducing stress and developing focus. The best part about doing musical activities together was that it brought a sense of harmony among ourselves and also fostered feelings of sensitivity towards people around us. Partaking in the sessions both as an experiencer and an observer of such experiences made me realize that music can nurture human relationships in very humble and caring ways. As a facilitator, watching the participants enjoy and relax in the sessions was the most fulfilling experience.
I am thankful to the RYI student club for allowing me to facilitate the music therapy sessions. I am also grateful to all the participants for playing, singing, and dancing with their arms wide open.
~ Shreeti Pradhan
*Picture used in the article is a screen shot of Soyolmaa Davaakhhu’s artwork named ‘The Buddha.’