Music, the rhythm of the soul


Welcome once again to Mad in Irelands podcast series ‘Fields of Healing’. This time around we visit the world of music and rhythm as a field or landscape of and for healing. Music is something that many people appreciate in its various guises and it has many forms. If we were to reflect on the impact of music on our lives, we might at the very least notice how different music evokes a range of emotional states; we might even feel that energetic drawback in time to a place when we liked a certain genre or listened to particular songs that remain with us today. We may not have considered the nature of music and rhythm generally as a healing field, yet since time memorial it has played a part in healing rituals. And within the broader eclectic paradigm of healing and how people can and do engage with music as part of their own healing journey, we visit that field. It is vast and at best we can give an Irish sample, in this case from two people who work within mental health services and outside of it, bringing their own version of music and rhythmic healing to the mental health field.

The interviewees

We are speaking with Rory Adams, music therapist and Deirdre Howard, Community drum facilitator and hope your interest is peeked by our latest podcast.

Rory Adams

Rory’s love of music as a means of connection grew from family gatherings that always seemed to involve song singing, poetry, and telling stories.

While working for the Yehudi Menuhin schools initiative in Dublin (1990’s) Rory was one of a team of artists providing multi-arts experiences for disadvantaged children at risk of social exclusion.  These experiences led Rory to study Music Therapy (2005).

Initially working extensively with children and adults who live with autism, and with other disabilities, Rory currently provides trauma informed music based interventions for individuals and groups in adult mental health contexts.

As well as working privately Rory delivers a range of music therapy programmes in several acute in-patient psychiatric services, in community mental health settings, residential rehabilitation units, addiction centres, and in psychiatry of later life services.

While Rory’s foundational studies in Music Therapy were very much based on psycho-dynamic approaches he is more recently informed by, and very much motivated by, embodied relational neuroscience perspectives.

Information about Music Therapy, and other creative arts therapies, can be accessed at
Rory can be contacted at

Deirdre Howard

Deirdre Howard (BUALADH CROÍ) is dedicated to using rhythm and beat as powerful tools for restoring mental well-being and empowering individuals. With over 16 years of experience in facilitating Community Circle Drumming and Sound Healing Workshops, Deirdre has witnessed first-hand the transformative impact of rhythmic expression in challenging yet rewarding environments. She specializes in mental health while working within the prison services, mental health hospitals and individuals in addiction recovery.

Using the drum as a tool to breakdown barriers and connect individuals with themselves and their community, Deirdre provides a non-judgmental space for individuals to feel seen and heard. Her workshops offer an opportunity for participants to see themselves in a different light, fostering personal growth and connection.

Passionate about empowering others to reclaim their voices and embrace their authentic selves. Deirdre fosters healing and harmony within communities and individuals through sound and song. She believes in the profound connection between rhythm and personal transformation, guiding individuals on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. With intuitive support and encouragement, Deirdre empowers individuals and groups to explore and embrace their authentic identities, guiding them to trust and follow their inner voice with courage and compassion.