Mental Health has increasingly become an important topic to me, especially in recent years as I grow more aware of what’s happening in the industry. Due to multiple factors such as the diversity of people you meet in the music industry and the blurred lines between artists as professionals and the art they create, I believe that building a good approach to mental health is one of the most important things independent artists can do for themselves to ensure they make good decisions and build sustainable businesses in the long run. But this is certainly a topic I can’t explore on my own! So I’ve called on the help of Asian-Australian music therapist Asami, who runs a platform called Shapes and Sounds to share her valuable advice with indie artists everywhere. Based in Melbourne, Asami saw a need for different approaches towards tailoring care for people from the Asian diaspora in her previous role working with crisis and community health services; something that current organisations just couldn’t provide. So she created Shapes and Sounds, a resource hub for Asian Australians and Asian diaspora individuals that creates a safe space where tailored conversations around our identity and mental health can occur. Check out some key threads from our conversation below: The origins of Music Therapy A relatively recent vein of therapy, music therapy was invented post WWII in the wards of soldiers coming back from war Patients were comatose and were unresponsive until musicians came into the room to play, and that’s when there would be some emotional responses/releases Relationship between music and PTSD therapy was uncovered The relationship between music and our worldviews Asami believes music is the thing that helps us to understand the world Especially for youth, music is an important influence Due to an increasing secularisation, we turn to music to fulfil the needs to shape our identities Music has always been used to help people come together in times where words aren’t quite enough How does music specifically assist in trauma therapy? Your language centres turn off, disallowing us from talking about it Engaging in music expression allows a different part of your brain to light up Sharing music also allows people to explain how they’re feeling and start much-needed conversations Listening to music helps to regulate your nervous system through your heartbeat and breathing When you listen to music in the presence of others, you’re co-regulating Co-regulating means you’re being present with another human being and can help things feel calmer Music is a way to facilitate therapeutic conversations in a safe environment Asian culture and mental health 16% of Australian population are Asian, yet this population is often made to feel invisible in day to day routines, institutions and structures Asian individuals tend to deal with things quietly and silently due to not having opportunities to talk openly about stress Asami has noticed that Asian individuals have a tendency to persevere silently Perfectionism and over-achievement is a big part of our culture and causes trauma in Asian-Australians Intergenerational trauma from previous generations also makes up a big part of the trauma Asian Australians face Our Confucianist values have deeply influenced the way Asian individuals approach trauma Advice for Asian/Asian diaspora artists in handling specific challenges Financial Stress Try not to blame yourself for this external factor While it’s good to not do things for the money, be clear about the budgeting and how much you nee
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