NEW GLASGOW, N.S. – When walking the halls of Glen Haven Manor one can often hear the lustrous sounds of the violin or guitar gliding through the air with a style that is rich, velvety and pure.
Lilting airs, brisk reels, lively jigs, melodic folk songs and classic tunes, along with sweet, tender vocals, are all courtesy of Heather (Cameron) Leeder, music therapist at Glen Haven.
Music therapy is a client-focused, evidence and research-based health profession that offers progressive therapeutic services, says Leeder. Therapists are trained to access, document and create treatment plans for those with dementia, learning or emotional needs.
Leeder, who is a well-known performer on the East Coast music scene and beyond, holds a certificate in music therapy from Acadia University and a bachelor of arts, English major, with a concentration in music and psychology from St. Francis Xavier University.
She joined the Glen Haven team last fall and is loving the opportunity to provide music therapy for Glen Haven residents. She has long had a great passion for helping people in addition to her love for music and her chosen profession empowers her to combine these skills and interests.
“It is wonderful to come to Glen Haven on a regular basis, to get to know the residents one-on-one, and to develop programs that can provide calming and relaxation, stimulation and engagement, or enrichment, depending on their needs,” says Leeder. “The residents’ participation and rhythmic responses demonstrate the power music has to reach people and make a difference. Residents who do not often participate in other programs come to music therapy. Music opens doors and brings people together.”
A native of Nova Scotia, Leeder grew up in a musical family. She is now part of a musical family of her own with husband Rodger, who is also a musician, daughter Keighley, and a new baby on the way.
While a great deal of her time is now spent working as a Music Therapist, Leeder balances an unwavering commitment to her profession with family and musical performances, blending her life’s passions through dedication, compassion, joy and caring.
“Our music therapy program is especially beneficial for residents with dementia but there are many residents who receive great benefit from it,” says Lisa M. Smith, CEO, Glen Haven Manor. “It is a powerful source of comfort and joy with therapeutic results.”
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Leeder has wealth of experience
Heather Leeder brings comprehensive work experience to the music therapist position at Glen Haven.
She is also music therapist, teacher and performer with Wildflower Music, serving Autism Pictou County, The Mira Long Term Care facility and Riverton Home Corporation and has been involved with the Arts Canopy program with Arts & Health (AHA!), Antigonish.
In the past she has worked at Signature Care, Calgary, Alta., and completed an internship with JB Music Therapy at long-term care facilities, also in Calgary. She has presented The Power of Music and Together with Heather programs with the Pictou Antigonish Regional Library, as well as a Music Heals fundraising initiative, raising awareness and funds for music therapy programming in the community in partnership with “Music Heals Canada” and The Dock.
Leeder is a member of the Canadian Association of Music Therapists and has music therapist accredited status. Her other community work includes presentations and music offerings for the local Parkinson’s Support Group, Brain Injury Support Group and the Palliative Care Society.