- Austin Hedgcoth
Commit To Be Fit: Music Therapy with Coyote Music Studio
***Since this story was originally covered, Coyote Music Studio has changed the meeting time for group music therapy classes for adults from every Monday evening to one Saturday afternoon per month.
DENTON - While the world is working to break down the stigma surrounding mental health, many people still feel uncomfortable addressing or discussing matters of their own minds. In the long run, however, this can be just as unhealthy, if not unhealthier, than neglecting your physical well-being.
Board-certified music therapist and classically trained musician Tonya Blum, owner of Coyote Music Studio, leads group music and mindfulness classes every Monday evening to provide a safe space and an emotional outlet for adults in the Denton area.
Using music proven to enhance visualizations, Blum guides participants through an hour-long journey of musical meditation on the top floor of the Shambala Wellness Center.
“The music acts as a tool and allows you to go into a different space than maybe you would in a silent meditation,” Blum said. “It helps them connect with their emotions, and the different musical structures can really impact their personal mediation and personal experience in a variety of ways.”
As the evening draws on and the meditation period comes to a close, participants put color to paper and analyze their emotional experience through vivid artistic expression. Their creations are not meant to be perfect; they are meant to be personal; each stroke of the pastel and each vibrant color represent the unique mental wellness journey of the individual participant.
Blum ends every session with a reflection period, opening the floor to anyone who wants to share or discuss their experience. Nobody is ever forced to say anything, but as a testament to Blum’s skill and guidance, someone always does.
Whether it’s recalling abusive relationships or discussing emotional control, participants are able to empty out the contents of their mind, shrug the day's weight from their shoulders, and step out into the crisp night air, walking toward tomorrow with clarity.
“After going to so many different therapists and counselors and different places that aren’t really conducive to actual mental healing, this place is,” participant and mental health advocate Candace Heimdal said. “So if you’ve had bad experiences before and are thinking you don’t want to go for help again, just know this place is different.”
In addition to classes on Monday evenings, Blum offers one-on-one therapy sessions, private music lessons and group music therapy sessions for children and families.
Anyone interested in joining these classes or learning more about music therapy can do so through Blum’s official website.