We love Thursday! We call it “Nejama’s Day”. Every Thursday we look forward to seeing Nejama’s smile. We all know it will be fun! Nejama is much more than a wonderful teacher, she is also a great person: caring, patient, sensitive, respectful, responsible. She is professional, experienced and creative. Her activities are scheduled very carefully according to a chosen theme with plenty of opportunity for self expression within the musical experience. Here are some examples to illustrate this: When we make an orchestra everybody gets a musical instrument to play. We exchange instruments so everyone has a chance to play all of them; When we have a marching band everyone gets a turn to lead; After we listen to a piece of classical music every child can share with the rest what he imagined while listening; When Nejama teaches the children a new song, she plays and sings it first before she sings it with the children. Then they all dance or do an activity with the song as a part of it. At the next session and the next she repeats that song/activity so that song memory and action become entwined. We even get to play Nejama’s guitar at the end of each session. Nejama’s activities demonstrate structure with flexibility, and a schedule with attention to everybody’s needs. She has the ability to create an amazing atmosphere in the class. She makes everyone feel very special. We love you, Nejama!
Owner/OperatorShalom Daycare Centre Inc.Victoria, BC
Dear Nejama, I want to thank you for coming to our Seniors Connections group last month, and sharing your music with us. It was a wonderful afternoon and you had all our members engaged, including those who are usually quite reticent. Music is such an important part of life and health on many levels and we often lose our involvement with music. You demonstrated great flexibility, warmth and variety with our eclectic group and you were very well prepared. I appreciate your flexibly coming into a new group and fully engaging them in song. Some of our members have not had much music in their life recently and they felt quite comfortable and encouraged to join in. You have a wonderful gift to bring to the community. Thank you for sharing it with us.
Community Services Coordinator, Connections FacilitatorCapital City Volunteers, James Bay Community Project
Headway- Victoria Epilepsy & Parkinson’s Centre is dedicated to enhancing the quality of lives of people with epilepsy or Parkinson’s. We have been offering a Parkinson’s Group that has functioned primarily with an education focus. The group’s format was lecture style with a presenter and audience, then tea and cookies afterward. We have been transitioning the group to function more as an opportunity for peer support, and integration of coping tools and strategies. This has required a gentle shift of expectations, a change from lecture seating to circle of chairs, and activation fo the participants. I contracted Nejama Ferstman to come to the group for the activation. Many people with Parkinson’s experience a softening of the voice, bradykinesia(slow to initiate movement), and facial mask(blank expression), all of which impair social connection. Nejama brought a large number of percussive instruments for individuals to handle and use to create sound. She also brought ideas of songs to sing, and a few selected recorded songs to play on a CD player. Nejama was warm and disarming, immediately generating an environment of active engagement and fun. I saw one man who is usually very masked, cringing with delight and playing air guitar to the sound of a solo introduction of Wake Up Little Susie. One other participant wrote me an email: ” The last meeting with Nejama… was a success in my book. When you, Nejama and I started having fun dancing in our seats, the group mood and participation picked up considerably.” We all were very happy with the way Nejama came into the group and brought smiles, song, and motion out of everyone.
Parkinson's Outreach Coordinator
We are very impressed with the work that Nejama has been doing with Jeremy. Two years of weekly sessions of music therapy have gone by and recently we have begun transitioning to actual piano lessons. Nejama is tremendously resourceful and creative. She notices the nuances about the person in front of her, their motivations, their interests; She finds ways to address these in her choice of songs, games and activities. Jeremy is learning some rock songs and blues too. He is only 11yrs.old. He also loves jazz, so by Nejama choosing to play to his strengths, he is keen to practice and particularly attentive during lesson time. Nejama never seems to tire in her enthusiasm for sharing her knowledge and expertise. She communicates with us regularly about Jeremy’s progress. She is patient and flexible when Jeremy has off days.
I have known Nejama for a number of years. I first met her when she was storytelling at “Tall Tale’s Bookstore”. I met her again when I joined The Victoria Storytellers’ Guild and was very impressed with her storytelling and songs. When the music teacher for my daycare left to volunteer in Nepal, I contacted Nejama. I have since passed her name on to other daycares as she is such an asset! The children adore her and she brings even the shyest child out to participate. I would recommend her to anyone as she is excellent with the children and makes every child feel like they are welcome and special!
Gnomes Home DaycareVictoria, BC
Kaleb has shown an early aptitude for music. His sessions with Nejama not only broaden his love for the subject but also introduce a level of learning that he keeps as easily as the music he remembers. His increase of focus in school and outside of the class has grown quite quickly; He is more dedicated and attentive in everything he does. Kaleb’s self expression in creating his own music or imaginary play grows more with every music therapy session. Kaleb is more patient with his play; Taking turns and moving on to new games or new subjects in school is much easier than before. The anticipation and love for his music sessions is clearly apparent in our little boy. We could not see Kaleb without his music sessions. His progress in the love of music and Nejama’s teaching only make our little boy grow in expression and sense of self worth. His sessions are not only a welcome part of his routine but a truly valued asset in helping Kaleb grow both emotionally and physically. Thank you.