1. Tell us about yourself.
I am an Afro-Caribbean man who enjoys playing and listening to music from all over the world. My particular interest in music is geared towards Calypso, Steelband and Smooth Jazz. Being a native of the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, I gravitated to our national musical instrument, the steelpan, from an early age, which was the last musical instrument to be invented in the 20th century. I came from an at-risk community here in Trinidad and Tobago and being a part of the steelband community created a level of personal security and development. My passion for this instrument grew throughout my adolescence and well into my mid 20’s as I was a member of a few famous steelbands, which afforded me the opportunity to tour places like Japan, USA, France, Netherlands and the UK.During this time, I gained an insight into other cultures in a hands-on way and it was while on tour that I saw the impact our musical expression through our performances had on the audience. It was during my early 20s, when I was able to perform in the UK for the then Council for Music in Hospitals (CMH) that I wanted to learn more about clinical music making. I took 10 years to learn about music therapy during my undergraduate course in Musical Arts at the University of the West Indies St Augustine Campus. I then lost two parental figures in my life and wished I had music therapy training to offer them reminiscence and a better quality of life as part of their end of life care. I was granted a Developmental Needs award to enrol on Anglia Ruskin University’s MA in Music Therapy training in 2009, which allowed me to become the first music therapist to work in the public sector in Trinidad and Tobago, with my primary musical instrument being the steelpan from 2011 - present.
I work primarily in the psychiatric setting, where I see clients from as early as 5 years old, adolescents, adults and the elderly facing a range of mental health challenges. My work is very rewarding personally and professionally as I get to engender subtle changes in my clients’ lives and help to provide a positive therapeutic relationship, influencing their daily lives in a profound manner from week to week.
2. What is your fondest memory at Anglia Ruskin University?
Being trained by the late Professor Tony Wigram within my first year on the MA Music Therapy course and performing for him at the International Consortium for Music Therapy Research.
3. What has been your favourite job?
Working as a Music Therapist in the public sector within the Psychiatric setting in Trinidad and Tobago for the past 8 years.
4. In one word, how would you describe ARU?
5. How did your time at Anglia Ruskin help you?
The training assisted me in gaining a better understanding of myself and my relationship with other people both professionally and personally through a closer look into my internal world and earlier childhood difficulties.
6. What did you love about your chosen course?
The connections I made with lecturers, other staff on campus, fellow students from my academic year, the years ahead of me and other students on campus, in particular the music department. I loved learning about different approaches within the field of music therapy, participating in masterclasses which exposed me to other art therapies and having to undergo my own personal psychotherapy once weekly.
7. What advice would you give to current students as they're preparing to graduate?
Be open-minded as learning continues.
"Work hard, no stress and be happy" - Tony Wigram
Believe in yourself and trust your instincts.
Ensure you register to practice upon completion.
8. What do you know now that you wish you had known whilst studying?
The concept of psychoanalytic thinking, in particular attachment theories and an understanding of transference and counter-transference within the context of early childhood development. I would have liked to be able to play the acoustic guitar with a greater capacity for using harmonic support and the nuisance and bureaucracy of the medical model in Psychiatry.
9. Who was the biggest influence on your career?
Professor Helen Odell-Miller as she continues to supervise my current work.
10. What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would have told myself that education is critically important and you must hold on to your dreams. Use discipline, dedication, diligence and determination to assist you in moving forward in life professionally and personally. Additionally, do the thing you love best which will help you strive towards excellence.
11. Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.
I have a passion for food, poetry, hair and fashion. I love to empower people to take a deeper look into themselves and persevere through life’s challenges with good positive support. I can be very sensitive at times leading on to better emotional intelligence and I am kind-hearted with tremendous love and empath for humanity.
12. What’s next?
I would like to explore further research at a PhD level in music therapy focused upon participants within the Psychiatric setting, aged 50 and older from a Caribbean background.