Published 10 February 2023
School pupils across West Dunbartonshire have been introduced to soothing Therapeutic Sound sessions to promote mindfulness and wellbeing as part of Children’s Mental Health Week.
The music therapy sessions took place in 15 primary schools across the area as part of an innovative approach to encourage young people to engage with mindfulness techniques from an early age.
Using heritage instruments from a range of traditional cultures including Himalayan and crystal singing bowls, the shamanic frame drum and Native American flute, the children were introduced to their soothing sounds as they considered how music can play a part in relaxation and good mental health.
The sessions, provided by Music Development Officer Tommy Regan of West Dunbartonshire Council’s Youth Music Initiative, ended with a ‘Sound Bath’ where the children lay down and relaxed as the unique sounds and vibrations of the instruments washed over them.
Tommy, a certified Therapeutic Sound Practitioner, explained: “These sessions are a means of highlighting how Therapeutic Sound can be used to promote relaxation, calm, focus and increase overall wellbeing.
“We are keen to integrate aspects of this into more classes so it made sense to start during Children’s Mental Health Week.”
One session provided for P4 pupils at St Patrick’s Primary School in Dumbarton was attended by Councillors Clare Steel and John Millar – Convener and Vice Convener of the Council’s Education Services Committee.
Councillor Steel said: “This was a wonderful experience that clearly had a positive effect on the children who took part, saying afterwards that they felt relaxed, peaceful and happy.
“Children’s Mental Health Week provides an opportunity to highlight the importance of supporting our young people’s emotional and mental wellbeing and I am delighted that we are embracing such innovative techniques to achieve that goal.
“If we can introduce young people to tools – whether that’s mindfulness, therapeutic sound, physical exercise or just taking some quiet time out – it equips them with an ability to self-soothe and adopt habits that can benefit them throughout their lives.”
Councillor Millar added: “It was a real treat to see the children’s faces when they first heard the unique and relaxing sounds of these instruments.
“It’s valuable to introduce young people to the idea of mindfulness and awareness of mental health from an early age, even more so now than ever given the pressures of recent years since the Covid pandemic.
“It’s inspiring to see Tommy taking such an innovative approach to engage the pupils through the power of sound and the positive impact it had on the class was obvious.”