Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Music Therapy for HAC Clients

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Jun 07, 2018 @ 04:59 PM

 

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Initially, they drummed to their own beat. But once musician Sam Holmstock had concluded his one-hour session with nearly a dozen children living at Village Green II, a workforce housing development located in Hyannis, they were drumming together in unison.

Held during April’s spring break, the activity was organized by HAC Case Manager Jacqueline Smith as a way to offer these at-risk youth a fun, relaxing opportunity to let loose by banging their hands on the drums on a sunny spring day.

This is the second time that Smith, who provides case management to 15 households who have housing vouchers at Village Green II, had brought in Holmstock, owner of Drum Strategies for Healing, to lead a drumming circle for children.

It may have appeared like a simple music class filled with repetitive motions, but it was much more than that. It was therapeutic. “Just smacking their hands on this drum stimulates neurotransmitters in the brain,” Holmstock said. “Generally speaking, although it’s not obvious walking out of that room, it generally calms people down… On one level it’s moderate physical exercise, but more than that it’s stimulating the brain.”

It’s something Smith has noticed by observing the two sessions held at Village Green II this year. “You can see how much calmer they are after doing it,” she said.

Holmstock, who co-founded the band Entrain, now focuses his musical talents on using drumming as a healing mechanism for a host of groups, from at-risk youth to incarcerated teens to those with Alzheimer’s to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Sam Holmstock and Jacqueline SmithSam Holmstock with HAC's Jacqueline Smith following April's drumming session at Village Green II. 

It allows Holmstock to use his talents to reach populations that can truly benefit from music therapy. “Just giving them this opportunity and being able to sort of reach them on a certain level,” he said is part of the reward. “Maybe they don’t even realize in their thinking brain that there are positive things going on when they’re just banging on the drums.”

Tags: music, music therapy, Jacqueline Smith, Village Green II, Hyannis, Sam Holmstock, drum circle, Drum Strategies for Healing, Family and Individual Services Department, Leased Housing

Yarmouth Concert Helps Prevent Homelessness on Cape Cod

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Sun, Jun 22, 2014 @ 09:45 AM

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Twice a year for nearly 15 years the Dennis Yarmouth Ecumenical Council for the Prevention of Homelessness (DYECH) has organized a free concert providing a night of musical enjoyment for residents and tourists alike.

But that joy has extended to complete strangers – those on the verge of losing their homes – thanks to the money raised over that time. Through goodwill offerings the concert series has been brought in roughly $20,000, all of which has gone toward HAC’s Project Prevention program that aims to keep people who are struggling with their bills in their homes and off the streets.

“It is much cheaper and much more economical to keep people in their homes than trying to get them back into housing once they are kicked out of their house and are forced to stay in their car or motels,” DYECH’s acting president Steve Sozanski said.

On Tuesday, June 24 DYECH will once again do its part to ensure Cape Codders will never experience the horrors of homelessness by holding a concert featuring the Cape Cod Conservatory Jazz Ensemble. The event, which begins at 7:30 PM, will take place in the Parish Life Center at St. Pius X Church at 21 Barbara Street in South Yarmouth.

“It is actually old-fashioned type of music which older people all recognize and some of the younger people never heard before, like Count Basie, but will still enjoy,” Sozanski said. “It is really cool music.”  

Tags: DYECH, Project Prevention, Steve Sozanski, music