Music therapy opens doors for global outreach

“I am a traveler at heart,” says Ruth Francis-Lyster. “I yearn to see the world and respectfully experience as many cultures as I can. I am also very interested in helping others globally through music.”

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Tag(s): Current Students, Education, Health & Human Development, Global & Community Studies

Capilano University student Ruth Francis-Lyster (far right), together with fellow music therapy students, works with children at Portland School of Hope in Jamaica.

That was the starting point that lead Ruth, a music therapy student at Capilano University, to jump at the opportunity to spend 10 days in Jamaica this past summer. 

On the recommendation of her CapU instructor Susan Summers, Ruth applied for and was accepted to a program through the State University of New York that brought together 11 music therapy students and 20 music education students from across North America.

Ruth received training from American music therapy instructors in leading therapy practices and worked with a variety of clients.

“I facilitated music therapy sessions at an infirmary, a homeless shelter, and an elementary school for children with disabilities and hearing difficulties. I also took Jamaican drumming classes from the program director,” says Ruth. “Having this experience greatly influenced my multicultural awareness.”

She experienced live traditional Jamaican music and learned Jamaican dancing from locals. The trip also offered plenty of free time to relax and reflect.

Music has always been a big part of her life. Ruth started playing classical violin at age seven and later branched out to other instruments. Looking ahead, music continues to guide her future. She plans on working full-time as an accredited music therapist after graduation and occasionally working abroad to support individuals in poverty-stricken areas.

Submitted by: Linda Munro