Music enables us to get to know each other in different ways

  • by Kate Bowman
  • November 2, 2023

When looking for ways to connect with clients, what better way to start a conversation than with a piece of music?

When used therapeutically music has been shown to reduce depression, stress, anxiety, and blood pressure. It can elicit positive changes in mood and behaviour, increase motivation and stimulate activity, and improve quality of life overall. Most importantly it allows for meaningful time spent together in a positive and creative way enhancing socio-emotional experiences.

If you are seeking to connect with a client through music here are some questions you might like to consider to start a conversation:

  • What music does the person like?
  • Have they learnt a musical instrument or sung in a choir?
  • Do they like dancing?
  • When was the individual born?
  • Where did they live and grow up?
  • What musical era have they lived through?
  • What cultural “scene” were they into and what music might be associated with this?
  • What music might have been listened to by their parents and children?
  • Are religious celebrations significant in their life and what music accompanies these?

Once you have an idea of what your client might enjoy listening to you can bring the noise. Smartphones, tablets and computers make it easy to connect with music streaming services such as Spotify, YouTube. While you can stream music for free on these platforms but you may think about signing up so you can create shareable and collaborative playlists to return to easily again and again.

Check out the beautifully nostalgic musical time machine Radiooooo, available online or as an app. On loading Radiooooo’s site, you are presented with a map of the world. Click on a country, select a decade, as well as a mood: slow, fast, or weird. Then sit back and enjoy song after song, as though you were listening to the best radio station in Berlin playing eighties new wave synth, Shanghai jazz from the twenties, or Peruvian rock from the sixties. They even have a 2070 tab where you can listen to original compositions and visions of the future by artists of today.

Just remember the speakers on your smartphone are not good enough to get good sound quality for music. Use headphones or connect in via Bluetooth or cable to a better speaker or sound system.

Here are some practical tips to help you bring music into your visit.

  • Be Prepared
  • Have a suitable device ready, with the right music source open
  • Think about any distracting background noise
  • Check the volume – loud volumes can startle people, cause physical discomfort or distress.
  • Monitor the responses of your client – listen to what is said, but also look for non-verbal communication
  • Allow time for the individual to focus and process information
  • Follow your client’s lead: Are they enjoying simply listening? Do they want to talk? Should you stop or change the music?
  • Keep an eye out for music that triggers unpleasant or unwanted feelings or memories. AVOID THIS MUSIC.
  • Tears are not always bad. They are a sign of deep emotion, but if they indicate distress: STOP
  • Keeping music listening interactive – consider asking your client about the music and/or commenting on your own experience of the music or the lyrics
  • Be ready to talk over the music, or pause the music
  • Listen without judgement
  • Read the room, follow the mood or vibe

And remember to have fun.


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