The violin that Patricia Alexandra plays as a performing artist is now also a way to communicate with her music therapy clients. Just like Simon Wiersma’s body has always been his instrument as a dancer on the stage; he is now using it to inspire and engage the elderly and children in therapy.
Patricia is studying Music Therapy, and Simon is studying Dance Movement Therapy at Codarts Rotterdam. These are two separate Master’s programmes that occasionally overlap. Starting once every two years, the classes are on Fridays and occasionally on Saturdays. Both Simon and Patricia started in September 2022 and are now completing their first year.
One thing they both agree on is how inspiring it is to see personal development expressed in creativity. Patricia: ‘The various creative techniques we explore, like drawing and (song) writing, make you discover yourself. It brings you closer to your feelings.’ See here the added value of art in a therapeutic setting.
Giving music like medicine
Patricia Kuijk (30) prefers Patricia Alexandra as her artist’s name. She has a wide variety of activities when she’s not studying at Codarts. She performs duets with a piano player. She also presents concerts. With her company Liefdevolle klanken (Loving Sounds) she plays her violin and sings (!) jazz music for people in care institutions. ‘I strongly feel that live music should be available to everyone, and I love interacting with my audience. So, if they can’t come to me, I go to them.’
Patricia feels that ‘Codarts is definitely the right place for me. It’s even better than I expected.’ To her, music therapy is about approaching a person musically. About connecting with someone. She uses her violin in such a way that she ‘gives someone music, like giving someone a dose of medicine.’ Patricia explains: ‘You reflect feelings in the music, so that someone feels supported and understood by the music’s atmosphere.’ Because of her own background, Patricia wants to be of value to people who are adopted – using her tailormade violin as her second voice.
Art therapy is about connecting through art
Let’s see what dance can do!
‘Coming to Codarts has changed my life,’ says Simon (45). He recently moved from Spain to Germany. ‘Everything was new: new house, new people, new job, new studies. Fortunately, everything has now fallen into place.’ He continues: ‘I had to find my way in studying the theoretical courses. Now I have found a system that works for me.’
Twenty years ago, Simon studied social work with the aim of becoming a dance therapist. After a while, he changed to studying dance at the Folkwang Universität der Künste in Essen, Germany. He became a dancer performing in theaters, also in Spain. ‘Besides my work as a dancer, I was involved in community projects that were about creating dance performances with groups of people who lacked dance experience. It’s beautiful to share and show what you can achieve together. It feels like bigger than yourself.’
Simon: ‘Meanwhile dance therapy was still on my mind, but I didn’t really see myself as a therapist. One moment I thought: “Let’s see what dance can do!” So, I attended a workshop at Codarts and found my place. I’m amazed about what dance can actually do. It trained me to be a more complete person. I feel more like a human being and not just a functioning person. Dance allows you to look at things in an embodied way. Also, I am becoming better at seeing what my clients need, when I work with the elderly and with children. I am becoming better at turning these needs into dancing answers bringing lightness and inspiration.’
Author: Ilse Breget