Principal Flute Amina Cunningham qualifies as trained Music Therapist

Posted on January 30, 2020

Amina at one of our Camerata in the Community workshops

We are extremely lucky with the calibre of musicians we work with here at Manchester Camerata, none more so than our principal flautist Amina Cunningham. Amina has been with Manchester Camerata many years, travelling globally with the orchestra.  More recently Amina has been working with our Camerata in the Community team and this has led her down a path to become a fully qualified Music Therapist! We were all so pleased and proud of Amina we thought it was worth taking 5 mins of her time to learn more about her journey.

Why did you decide to train as a Music Therapist?

I’d been doing lots of work in the community through Manchester Camerata’s Music in Mind programme as a supporting musician working alongside music therapists.

In every session, there was just such creativity and expression, and that sense of personal connection. It really opened my eyes to this world of musical ’freedom’ and what it really means to relate to another human being through music. 

I quickly realised through all the reflective conversations with the music therapists after sessions, that I’d found a pursuit that really fitted my needs and outlook as a musician, and I felt encouraged to take the plunge to train as a music therapist. 

What was the most challenging aspect of the course?

The course was intense the majority of the time! But I think firstly, being an adult learner again was quite an adjustment. I’d worked out it had taken me about 7 months to settle into a study/work pattern that was vaguely manageable. 

Secondly, unpicking one’s (heavily formed) musical identity in order to be more effective in a therapeutic context took some hard introspection and a willingness to be uncomfortable! 

But when you’re face to face with someone who experiences that feeling of vulnerability every day – for the most basic of things – you realise how important it is that one’s own musicianship never stands in the way of any ability to relate. 

What are you hoping to do next with your qualification?

Aside from continuing to work on the Music in Mind programme, I have many other ideas and plans which need time to nurture and develop. I have a particular interest in the use of music therapy in end of life care and the impact it has on the relatives and carers of someone receiving palliative treatment at home – throughout the process of illness, death and grief. And how cultural ideologies challenge or influence the experience. 

For now, that’s probably enough to focus on!

Thanks Amina! We are all so proud of you! 

Follow Amina on instagram @aminaflute