June 25, 2020

Reflection on 20 years of teaching Sound Therapists

The British Academy of Sound Therapy is celebrating it’s 20th birthday this year, we aren’t sure where the time has gone! We were hoping to celebrate with a sonic boom, however Covid-19 has put a rain-check on any celebrations for now. Over the past 20 years, our teaching methods, research and position in the holistic industry has grown enormously, and as a result we are now teaching more Sound and Voice therapists than we could ever have hoped for back in 2000.

On our latest course, we were blessed to have Lianne, one of our very first students and previous tutors join us to reignite her passion for sound and continue her professional development. We asked Lianne after her training to compare what we were like in 2000 to today.

Lianne’s Story

Twenty years ago, I saw an advert on the local village notice board advertising a “Practitioner Level Sound Therapy Diploma” with The British Academy of Sound Therapy (BAST).  This was the very first professional Sound Therapy Course in the UK.  At that time the format was a weekend module every month for 10 months followed by a case study period.  This programme marked the beginning of my sound journey. The training was very experiential although note taking was encouraged and handouts and supporting information was given. At that time the framework was Vedic – taking the chakras, nadis and energy flow of the body into consideration.  

Following the course, I became a tutor for BAST and immersed myself in their programme. However in 2010, I had to step back from BAST due to ill health. 

In 2019 I decided to return and contacted Lyz to discuss continual professional development training. Lyz explained that there were now 7 courses to choose from (when I left in 2010 there were two!) and outlined how the courses had evolved over the last decade.  She explained that there is now significant research supporting the profound effects a sound induced Altered State of Consciousness can have on health and wellbeing. 

The latest BAST method centres around the ways mind, body and emotions respond to sound and music. Modern science now explains this is due to the way sound is processed in the brain. The BAST method combines this with a reflective process known as the 5Rs, a framework which enables us to examine how we react to sound. The 5RS allows us to take ownership of our experiences to improve our health and wellbeing. Students are guided to not only encourage reflection and responsibility in their clients, but also within themselves to become compassionate witnesses to their own journey. 

While I was excited to get back practising, I felt like I needed a factory reset as so many upgrades had been done! 

Along with the model, the style of teaching has evolved too, with bespoke learning pathways created from student choices, including the recently added Sound/Voice Arts courses (I’d honestly love to do them all!). 

Rather than monthly teaching, the curriculum has been condensed to short intensives, once or twice a year. This makes it much easier to commit to a course and the immersion in the process made learning much easier.  Along with classroom-based teaching, the online Learning Zone (LZ) offers additional resources such as videos, reflective process exercises, assignments, and access to relevant scientific research papers. This made learning so much easier than it had been in 2000 and allowed overseas students to effectively participate.

Playing techniques however, are mostly the same with some amendments based on the research. A constant throughout the years is the acknowledgment of the beauty of the instruments and their differing effects on the body on all levels.  As in 2000, there is great focus on immersing oneself with your instruments and really understanding their therapeutic benefits.

The past 20 years have seen BAST evolve significantly, allowing many doors to open to the benefits of Sound Therapy. BAST’s work has gone to a new level, providing a toolkit of Sound based therapies accessible to mainstream education, the NHS, work in the community and for individual treatments. BAST’s updated portfolio of cutting-edge research on Sound Induced ASC and reflective processes, using instruments with exquisite qualities, combine together to create a pioneering model of Sound Therapy.

Happy 20th Birthday BAST!


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