Anna & the Astronauts will be performing live this Sunday, September 5, at 2:00 PM on the Dartmouth Waterfront. Join us in Ferry Terminal Park for an afternoon of music and play.
Local music therapist and frontwoman, Anna Plaskett, sat down with us to talk about her practice and the impact of music on young audiences.
Anna was born in Lunenburg and raised in Halifax. She recalls her childhood being musical. Her parents fostered a love of music in their children, helping Anna discover new artists and musical styles. Both Anna and her brother, Joel Plaskett, were encouraged to pursue their musical talents.
She followed this love of music down to the United States, where she gained a Bachelor of Music Performance from Michigan State University. Anna originally planned on becoming an orchestral french-horn performer. However, a last-minute decision to attend a talk on campus shifted her trajectory. It was here that she learned more about music therapy.
"It found me as much as I found it," Anna recounts.
This new journey would lead her back to the Maritimes and to Acadia University's Certificate of Music Therapy program. Through this program, Anna blended her desire to help and nurture others, with her passion for music.
Anna is now the owner of Heartsparks Music Therapy in Bedford, where she serves as an administrator and practitioner. Anna's primary focus is early childhood development. However, she has extensive experience working with children with developmental disabilities, young adults, and the elderly. In the past, Anna has served as the Continuing Education Chair & Vice President for the Atlantic Association for Music Therapy and Conference Co-Chair for the Canadian Association of Music Therapists. In 2019, Anna received the Service Recognition Award from the Gordon Foundation for Children and Youth.
But what is music therapy? Anna describes it as "music to develop meaningful relationships and meaningful connections." She views music as a bridge to connect all audiences regardless of physical or verbal limitations. Music can inspire: thoughtfulness, communication, or movement, making it an ideal tool for mental and physical healing.
In 2017, Anna released her debut album, To the Moon and Back. The album sits at a crossroads between peacefulness and playfulness, encouraging movement along with mindfulness. Sounds of Folk music blend with fun-loving lyrics to create an experience that both children and caregivers are sure to enjoy.
Anna is excited for Summer Sunshine, where she will be joined on stage by fellow local music therapists, as well as her brother. Kids can dance and sing along to covers of classic songs. Audiences will also learn Anna & the Astronauts originals, including Anna's personal favourite Let's Get Silly.
Anna hopes for a lively and active show, "We like to encourage the kids to jump around and clap their hands!"
For more information on the Summer Sunshine concert series, visit: https://downtowndartmouth.ca/pages/summersunshine
To learn more about Music Therapy, its benefits, and Anna’s practice, visit: https://www.heartsparks.ca/
To purchase a copy of To the Moon and Back, and for updates on all things Anna & the Astronauts, visit: https://annaplaskett.bandcamp.com/releases