Migrants feel upbeat about Good Vibrations

FEELING GOOD: The senior music therapy group, back, from left: Richard Hong, music therapist Sophie Buxton, Park Won Ok, Myung Hee, translator Myungshim Kim, Julia Yoon, Emily. Front, from left: Social work student Cassidy Yeung, Colin Webster, Grief Centre support person Mallika Krishnamurthy, and social work student Sabrina Hu.
FEELING GOOD: The senior music therapy group, back, from left: Richard Hong, music therapist Sophie Buxton, Park Won Ok, Myung Hee, translator Myungshim Kim, Julia Yoon, Emily. Front, from left: Social work student Cassidy Yeung, Colin Webster, Grief Centre support person Mallika Krishnamurthy, and social work student Sabrina Hu.

When words fail music speaks.

This is the basis of a new programme helping migrants settle into the community.

Music therapist Sophie Buxton is using music as a way to overcome language barriers so new Kiwis can start socialising in the community.

Buxton runs a music therapy group for senior migrants called Good Vibrations at the Albany House community centre.

Singing, dancing and playing instruments together instead of talking takes away the pressure of having to hold a conversation, Buxton says.

"If you don't know enough of the language to get out and meet new people, migrants tend to isolate themselves from the community.

"We want to reach out to those people and offer them a fun alternative," she says

The songs the group play are easy to learn and a simple way of exposing members to the English language, she says.

Buxton often replaces lyrics with simple sounds and will sometimes act them out to help with the interpretation.

"It's about bringing people together and giving them a sense of belonging to their community. Then we can direct them to other services to help them with their transition."

Interpreters can be arranged and a support person from the Grief Centre also attends to help those dealing with loss.

Good Vibrations meets every Thursday at the Albany House, 575 Albany Highway, from 1.30pm to 3pm.

Entry is a gold coin donation with tea and coffee provided.

Phone Sophie 021 525 609 to learn more.

North Harbour News