Healing through pan

TT – Jamal Glynn, 49, is very aware of the power of music. His awareness was fostered at an early age in a home full of music – whether it was his mother, Allyson Phillip, singing while doing household chores or seeing the examples of his uncles, Wainwright Phillip and Michael “Mossa” Phillip who sang in church and was involved in the steelband movement in the 1960s, respectively.

Glynn, of Morvant, has played pan for more than 30 years. He’s also found a unique career path as a musician by becoming a certified music therapist.

A former member of the National Steel Orchestra, he has worked with the North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) at St Ann’s Hospital for the past eight years as a music therapist after doing a master’s degree at Anglia Ruskin University, UK.

The NWRHA offers music therapy to both inpatient and outpatient clients weekly at St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital, Chaguanas Psychiatric Clinic, the Child Guidance Clinic and Barataria Mental Health and Wellness Centre.

Glynn has incorporated the use of the pan in his practice.

Music therapy is defined as “an established psychological clinical intervention, which is delivered by registered music therapists to help people whose lives have been affected by injury, illness or disability through supporting their psychological, emotional, cognitive, physical, communicative and social needs,” according to the British Association for Music Therapy.

The association’s website also said music therapists “draw upon the innate qualities of music to support people of all ages and abilities and at all stages of life; from helping newborn babies develop healthy bonds with their parents, to offering vital, sensitive and compassionate palliative care at the end of life.” The NWRHA’s music therapy service supports schizophrenic clients as well as people diagnosed with personality disorders, depression, Alzheimer’s and/or dementia.

In Glynn’s years of playing pan he saw its power: “There was some sort of solace, there was some sort of solidity, some sort of value of instrument untapped, not written about, and I was thinking that this would be a good avenue to explore.”

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