Meet Lore Smits, CBM’s Head of Music Therapy.
Lore Smits studied music therapy in Enschede, the Netherlands, where her main instrument was the violin. After graduating, she decided to develop herself further by doing a post graduate degree in sustainable development. She chose to spend her five-month internship with Connect by Music. Lore was one of the first music therapists who started working with the Connect by Music team, this gave her the opportunity to add therapeutic elements to the music program.
This was a challenge she gladly accepted as she saw the positive effect that music has, and she quickly found that her natural strength lies in supporting and working with our students.
After she finished her internship, we asked Lore to return to CBM as Head of Music Therapy. Since September of this year, Lore has been back in Lesvos developing the CBM music therapy method based on different student target groups, managing the music therapy volunteers, giving music therapy, and organising related activities.
“Connect By Music means being together. It changed a big part of my life because the project became very dear to me.”
Lore is supervising the music therapy team and gives herself sessions on four locations on the island. Depending on the student target group, she provides different kinds of music activities based on a therapeutic approach. Lore finds the Safe Zone, a separate part of hotspot Moria camp the most difficult place to work in. The Safe Zone is a place for unaccompanied minors, children alone without parents, often younger then fifteen years old. Every day Lore experience the positive effect of her music sessions for those vulnerable children and believes that it is very important for the children to keep going to Safe Zone. Her presence and sessions provide some sort of structure in the children’s lives. It gives them something to hold on and look forward to.
What drives Lore to work in the camps most of all is the connection she makes with the people living in the camps and the students who attend her music activities. Finding an opening for a connection is not always easy, though. The acknowledgment and appreciation she gets from her students, who keep coming back because they feel the connection with the group and with her also motivates Lore. When her students feel comfortable and enjoy the sessions it greatly boosts Lore’s morale and drives her to expand her activities.
When we start talking about CBM, she explains how much it means to her: “Connect By Music means being together. It changed a big part of my life because the project became very dear to me.” After her internship she was not ready to go back home. Lore felt that her work was not done. So, when Adrian told her that he wanted to continue working with her and with future music therapists in general, she was overjoyed. The rest was easy because of the strong connection she has with the organisation and the other teachers. Lore is very grateful for the confidence that CBM has in her skills, and for the trust she gets from everyone in her team.
For Lore, the important effect that the CBM project has on its students is the way music stimulates them to be creative, to enjoy the present, and to be aware of themselves for a moment. “Making music has an unbelievable effect on the brain, it stimulates different neurological areas. By coming together and playing music, teachers and students build connections”.
Lore is a music therapist with a big heart and a creative mind. She is driven to support people with the power of music, to connect by music and bring people back from isolation.
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