Michael Angus

Image of MHA Music Therapist Michael Angus

Offering an authentic experience for joy

Michael’s most inspirational moment as a music therapist was when he helped someone with Alzheimer’s disease reconnect with his past life as a fisherman.  

“We did this through folk songs and thematic imagery,” says Michael. “It was such a rich resource to trigger autobiographical long-term memory, giving him genuine joy and, often, tears of sadness. It was a truly authentic experience within our sessions.”

Exploring someone’s humanity

Michael discovered music therapy when he worked with people with learning difficulties. He went on to study music therapy at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. Michael loves the way music therapy can build and foster a connection with someone and feels there’s real joy and engagement in his one to one sessions. 

For example, Michael’s work with MHA resident Paul Mosby, gave the X year old an opportunity to be a star performer. “There are many humorous moments within the sessions, from impersonations of oboes, to Paul’s lovely laughter at a funny note,” says Michael. “I see this as an exploration of Paul’s humanity. His wife and daughter were able to be part of some of the sessions which added to the richness of the experience, improving Paul’s quality of life.”

Similarly, Michael’s work with X year old MHA resident Roma Tucker engaged her immediately with old familiar songs and remembered lyrics which she sang at full volume. “I showed video recordings of our sessions to MHA staff,” says Michael. “This introduced a new way of interacting and working with Roma and gave a new perspective on who she was, insight staff could use to care for her.”

Regulating emotions

Michael says people, like Paul and Roma, who may initially appear passive, come alive when they hear a favourite song or piece of music. He thinks music therapy provides meaningful interactions and helps to calm and regulate mood and emotions. 

“I have been a musician most of my adult life and have always been fascinated in the dynamic interplay that happens when people play together,” says Michael. 

Watch this short video to meet Michael and find out more about how he became a music therapist.

Sign up to discover more about MHA’s music therapy service and how you can support us to enable people to live later life well.