Music has the Power to Heal Pain.
(Part 2)

Jenny Lam / Music Therapist

Music Therapy Gives Me a Purpose in Life.

Jenny Lam began her career as a music therapist, committed to reaching out to people in need. Years earlier she discovered her strong philanthropic instincts doing good works as a Red Cross volunteer. Today she supports autistic children, lonely elderly people, and many others in need. She recalls how music changed her own life for the better.

Music therapy has the potential to address social issues.

After taking my Master’s degree in music therapy in Australia, I returned to Hong Kong to start a practice in 2011. The demand for therapy continues to grow in Hong Kong, particularly for young children. Many parents here have only one child, and only children tend to become reclusive. Music therapy gives them the means to communicate with others through music. When these kids express themselves and join with others through music, society becomes a better place for everyone.

A bigger focus for my practice is end-of-life care. Far too many of us suffer from loneliness, sorrow, and fear as we approach the end of our lives. My aspiration is to empower them to express their feelings through music, to make the last days of their lives as blessed as their very first days in the world. In my profession, I can help people find happiness through music.

During her music therapy sessions, she uses instruments that interests her patients, from guitars, keyboards, marimbas to drums.

Coming to terms with the end of life positively with music.

Poignant episodes with the people I help have enriched my experience in end-of-life care. One elderly woman complained, in our first session together, that the Western music I played for her was “noisy.” To my relief, she gradually opened up over time. In our last session together, she smiled graciously and told me, “I’m so glad and grateful that we have met.” Though her passing filled me with great sadness, I was immensely thankful that my therapy had brought something joyous in the last days of her life.

There was another episode: an elderly woman nearly lost both her eyesight and hearing, leaving her bereft of the power to communicate. Though unsure of how to approach her, I played for her in the usual fashion. The music, I hoped, could somehow be sensed through vibration or on other levels. One day, quite suddenly, she gestured that she wanted me to continue playing. She seemed to be truly “listening” to the music and enjoying it. Today, I see her once a week to communicate onward through music. Sometimes she plays musical instruments herself, like the drums, xylophone, and keyboard. It delights me to hear her freely express her emotions through music, breaking free from the isolation she surely must suffer.

Most of her work comes from referrals from past clients. This itself proves the power and the effect of music therapy.

I am the one whose life was changed most by music.

I have joined a group to launch a non-governmental organization which aims to provide music and play therapies. We reach out to socially vulnerable children and elderly people in less privileged areas of Hong Kong in the hopes of helping them with various challenges they face. My policy remains unchanged from what it was in my days as a Red Cross volunteer: to extend a helping hand to anyone who needs it, regardless of their social and financial circumstances.

My decision to become a music therapist has enriched my life immeasurably. In truth, I am the one who draws the deepest benefits from my therapies. By learning, as a therapist, to see the positive in my patients, I have been transformed from a pessimist to a person who looks forward with hope. Never will I revert to my former self and sense of aimlessness in life. Music therapy ties me to people and empowers me to ease their pain. This is my life now, a life that brings me joy every day.

With her business partner and friend, Jenny plans for a future where she can bring music therapy to not only the wealthy, but for the poor and the underprivileged.

Read the Part 1

Jenny Lam / Music Therapist
Jenny Lam of Hong Kong was on track in a promising career in finance, first at an auditing agency and later at a reputable local bank. Then she decided to follow her heart and take a master’s program in music therapy. By 2011 she was off and running as a professional music therapist.
Jenny did charity work at the Red Cross as a teenager. The experience later shaped her life as a therapist for anyone in need, no matter who they are or the problems they suffer. Today she is also active in end-of-life care.

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