A live concert by country rock band This Side Of Life has created quite a stir. The event wasn't publicly advertised and was staged for an invited audience of family, friends and well-wishers, but there were a significant number of protesters and gatecrashers intent on spoiling the proceedings. There was already high security for the show, but the local police had to be called to control and disperse an angry mob. Still the show went ahead as scheduled. All proceeds from the concert are going to a national charity for the rehabilitation of ex-prisoners which is a pointer to the reason for the protests. All members of the band are serving life sentences in a maximum security prison and are more accustomed to solitary confinement than appearing in front of a large audience. Organising such an event was a very controversial decision by the prison authorities and raised questions from many campaigners who were against the idea. Yet, despite the protests the band gave a superb performance and hopefully silenced some of their critics. Music is a universal language that we can all relate to and this project is an experiment using music therapy as part of a programme intended to rehabilitate some of the country's worst offenders. See also Be What You Want Me To Be
BACK ON THE ROAD
I know you’re busy, thought I’d drop you a line
Just had a visit from an old friend of mine
He called to tell me what I already knew
We’ve got some old unfinished business to do
Just got time to reload
And then I’m back on the road
So goodbye, I hope to see you around
But my feet they won’t be touching the ground
Cos once I’m moving then I’m not gonna stop
You won’t believe it and your jaw’s gonna drop
When you see me explode
I’m going back on the road
So long and take good care of yourself
You know I love you and there’s nobody else
But if you want me then I know that you’ll wait
I’ve got to go now before it’s too late
To collect what I’m owed
I’m going back on the road
Music therapy programs are now used extensively in prisons as part of the rehabilitation process. Advocates of these programs point to the therapeutic nature of music, the positive outlet of energy and the stimulation of the creative processes as reasons to support the continuation and proliferation of music therapy. Music programs emphasize cooperation and provide a skill that can be used outside of prison - if not as a source of income, then as a productive hobby.
Music programs have traditionally been offered in all kinds of facilities, from lower-security to maximum-security prisons. These sessions include music lessons, playing and performing in groups and the opportunity to make recordings or perform live on radio and television. Some bands are allowed to travel outside the prison to perform. Others are limited to performing inside the institution for their convict peers only. Instruction varies from hiring professional music instructors to volunteers and prisoner teachers. Music programs can be part of larger overall arts programs that include theatre, dancing and painting, while sometimes they are part of other self-help groups organised by the prisoners themselves.
Supporters of art and music programs believe that such classes restore a sense of humanity and safety that is vital to rehabilitation. The sense of completion and of contribution to the creation of something that society values can help inmates increase their self-esteem and recapture a sense of pride and satisfaction in themselves and their work. Other benefits can include relearning responsibility and discipline through individual and group practice and performance.
These programs have also been shown to reduce repeat offending rates. They provide an alternative to traditional education classes to which inmates who have had negative experience with schooling in the past may be averse. The open structure of these programs also helps them bring together diverse groups of individuals from different racial, ethnic, geographical and social backgrounds into a harmonious cooperative atmosphere. Music programs have even been used as a form of psychotherapy to develop the relationship between the therapist and the client. Therapists believe that music particularly helps those individuals who would otherwise have a difficult time communicating and expressing themselves.
Back On The Road Copyright (c) Steve Nielson All Rights Reserved