Sheldon Francescini, BMT, MTA, MT-BC
Bachelor of Music Therapy, with distinction – Capilano University
Music Therapist Accredited- Canadian Association for Music Therapy
MT-BC (US Certification Board for Music Therapists)
Populations you specialize with:
-Older Adults (Seniors) with Alzheimer’s/Dementia: from early stages to further progressed and non-verbal stages
-Youth, adults, and older adults with anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges
– Youth and adults with problematic alcohol and substance use and addictions, and people in recovery
-Adults and older adults interested in achieving better health, wellness, and life balance through mindfulness, stress management techniques, and/or creative expression
-Children and youth seeking to improve social skills, emotional expression and regulation, and more
-Spanish speaking clients
Special Skills /Related Training:
-Speak (and sing in) Spanish conversationally
-Completed specialized Fraser Health Authority course, “Core Addiction Practice: Foundational Concepts and Practices for Substance Use Services and Supports”
-Extensive experience in theatre/musical theatre performance
Personal History :
Growing up, my small suburban home in Port Coquitlam, BC was filled with the sounds of piano, singing, and the rhythms and horns of Latin music. My first instrument was the piano, but I fell in love with singing when I was in my first musical, Annie, which led into 9 years of honing my singing, acting, and dancing in musical theatre productions and training. An impactful early experience of music’s power came when my grandpa and then my grandma developed Alzheimer’s, and I was amazed to see how when listening to their music they came out of the “fog”, their old personality reappeared, and they experienced some relief from their suffering. For me, music has also been a refuge and a canvas for my heart in times of struggle and joy. Observing and personally experiencing suffering in this world and my family’s heart to care for the marginalized gave me a desire to do work where I could help people. When I discovered music therapy it felt like a perfect marriage of this desire and my love of music.
I love to read, play soccer, travel, act, and make music.
Professional History (previous related career experience, years as MT, populations worked with, organizations worked at):
Among other contracts, I am currently working with seniors with Dementia at a long term care facility, and with a youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
In Spring 2015, I completed a 1,000 hour (9 month) internship that saw me working with seniors with varying stages of Dementia, and with men in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. At these sites I engaged clients in sing-alongs, playing in instrumental ensembles, expressive arts and writing, music listening for relaxation and mindfulness, guitar lessons, songwriting, exercise to music, connecting with sources of strength and hope through spiritual songs, and much more. At both sites I used music to help reduce isolation and create social connectedness and support, provide clients a creative outlet to express their feelings and beliefs, reduce agitation and pain perception, inspire personal growth, allow clients to have an experience of success and beauty, and much more.
Previous to this internship, I also completed three 12 week practicum placements: in an Inpatient Psychiatry Unit, working with children with special needs and emotional problems at Gilpin Elementary School, and with seniors in a long term care facility.
Work Philosophy (your style and approach to your work):
One of the beautiful things about music is how the sound and beauty of it spreads out and naturally draws people together, creating community. I believe everyone is worthy of respect and has something valuable to contribute, and so I try to include everyone in music and community to create a richer tapestry of sounds and experience. I see music and voice as an extension of who a person is, and so I seek to create a space where people feel safe enough to share this part of themselves with others. It’s alright to make mistakes in my sessions, and I always like to laugh with clients and at myself to show that we can be serious and also have a good time. My faith is a big part of my life, and I like to facilitate people connecting with their sources of Spiritual strength and inspiration through music and reflection, too.
Personal Life Philosophy (how you view the world):
Love everyone and treat them the way you would like to be treated.
Be patient and don’t give up- there is hope, even if you can’t see it right now.
Take the time to hear people’s story, and listen well- it will always change you in some way.
Life is so much better if you can see the humour in a situation and laugh at yourself.
“Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don’t want it. What seems conceit…bad manners…cynicism is always a sign.
A sign of things no ear has heard, things no eye has seen. You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone.”
-Lucinda Williams (from the song, “Compassion”)