Staff at Whispering Ridge Community School (WRCS) are excited to offer music therapy to their students this school year. Made possible by a grant from the Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund, the music therapy program is designed to provide tools for supporting mental health through body and emotional state awareness, developing and strengthening one's voice, and practicing stress reduction and relaxation techniques that could be employed when needed.

Certified Music Therapist Kelsi McInnes, MA, MTA, prepared her grant proposal, entitled Re-Connection in the North: A Music Therapy Program for Child and Youth Mental Health Impacted by COVID-19, to foster re-connection for school-aged children. When it comes to using music for wellness, McInnes shares, “Music has always given us a soundtrack to our most meaningful lived experiences. Intentionally create moments by using music purposefully in your own life.”

The 10-week music therapy program will teach students how to first recognize any signs when they are feeling stressed, anxious or unsettled, and then practice ways to regulate their emotions, so they can process all the feelings that are flooding their nervous system.

WRCS Assistant Principal Maryanne Buck says she is looking forward to having students access their creativity and express their thoughts and feelings through music. “This is such an amazing support we are excited to provide in our school, as it provides students an additional opportunity to access mental health and well-being support. With this program, students will be able to work with a certified music therapist and focus on their health and wellness through a creative mindset.” She says the program will help strengthen connections at WRCS, increase student confidence and expression, and provide an opportunity for more students to develop overall health and wellness strategies in their everyday lives.

Information provided by the Peace Wapiti Public School Division