Catherine Threlfall is an experienced musician, teacher and music therapist with a lifelong passion for making the arts accessible to everyone. Catherine chats to Caitlyn Morgan about her passion, the benefits of music and the future of her business – Sunraysia Arts and Learning. Picture: Louise Barker
Where did you love of music initially begin?
I started playing the clarinet at seven because my dad had decided he wanted to learn so we did it together.
At what point did you decide you wanted to become a music therapist?
It was during high school that I was interested in both social work, like my father, and music. Someone mentioned music therapy so I then went on to meet one and see them work. As soon as I saw them, I knew it was what I wanted to do. It combined both of the things I wanted to do.
What training was required to become a music therapist?
I did an undergraduate degree – a Bachelor of Music Therapy, which I finished in 1996 and then later down the track did my teaching degree.
I went on to teach in a range of places; Gippsland, Yarra Ranges, Box Hill, Darwin and then came here four years ago.
Why did you decide to settle in Sunraysia?
We have lots of family here and we really enjoy living in regional areas and the big sky. Living in Darwin we didn’t have much family there so to have a lot of extended with us now we just love it.
What are the benefits of music?
Music is a great way to connect with other people. It gives people energy, peace and it is generally uplifting to be involved in music.
My overall passion is to make sure as many people as possible have access to music.
Everyone has music in their own culture and that connection to music is universal.
When should children be introduced to music?
From the second they are born. It’s really important to introduce them as early as possible. Many people wait until they think they are old enough to interact but they are born musical.
Some babies dance with their hands, others their feet.
What are the benefits of attending one of your popular drum circles?
They are a stress reliever and create mindfulness. When drumming, that is what your entire focus is on.
Currently you offer a range of classes from individual music therapy to drum circles and family music classes, so what does the future of Sunraysia Arts and Learning look like?
Soon I will be introducing music therapy in small groups and I plan to work even more with the community.
I am really excited to have recently received support from Hands Up Mallee for With One Voice and Generations Music Together.
With One Voice is a choir for every age group, every background, every demographic.
Generations Music Together is a program run at Chaffey Aged Care involving children aged zero to five and the residents.
I want to work with the community to ensure as many people as possible have accessible to music.