Music therapy is a scientific profession in which a trained music therapist uses music to help increase and maintain health. Music therapy has been around for decades and is designed to alleviate pain, improve communication, enhance memory, help deal with stress, and progress physical rehabilitation. It can include anything from listening to music to playing an instrument. This type of therapy can be found in many facets of the helping profession. It has been specifically known to help children with disabilities, and elderly people who suffer from a stroke, heart disease, or epilepsy. Music therapy enhances quality of life and overall wellness.
Music therapy has undeniable results when dealing with children who have disabilities. Children who have social issues, and have trouble making friends have also been known to benefit wildly from music therapy. When working with children, two approaches have been successful; the one-on-one session, and the group session. During either approach, the most important aspect is the setting. The room should be set up for music, with no outside distractions. Many music therapists have been known to work with children as young as six months old. Children this young can benefit from following the beat of a drum, even if it is only for a few beats. This is their way of imitating their own heartbeat.
Ethnomusicology is defined as the contemplation of the cultural and social condition of music and dance in local and global backgrounds. In more basic terms, it is the study of people making music.
Early ethnomusicology began through the study of traditional singing in non-western culture, but over the years has expanded to all places and facets of music. The study of ethnomusicology has been completed through many channels, including observation and historical comparison. Since 1955, the central academic center for this idea has been The Society for Ethnomusicology.
The study of music therapy and the effects on its patients have been researched persistently. During one example; 54 patients who had each suffered a stroke listened to music a few hours a day. The outcome of this study was positive, showing that these patients showed improvement in memory, focused attention, and were more upbeat during their recovery. Music therapy has also been known to help those who have lived with heart disease. This study showed that those who listened to music throughout their lives with heart disease had a lower heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate. However, the results were not consistent and did not show a reduction in psychological stress. Music therapy has also been a changing factor for those who deal with epilepsy. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder which causes one to have seizures involuntarily. One specific study mentions Mozart’s piano sonata K448 as helping decrease the number of seizures epilepsy patients endure.
Throughout the study of music therapy over time, several notable practitioners have risen; the first being Al-Farabi. Farabi is known for his book; Kitab al-Musiqa on the theory of Persian music. In his book he discusses the effects of music on the soul. Also a notable practitioner, Juliette Alvin was a very active British music therapist. In 1958 she founded the Society of Music Therapy and Remedial Music and initiated many music therapy programs in the greater London area. Alvin also authored many books on music therapy and how it can help children with disabilities. Britain held many prominent music therapy advocates as well such as Mary Priestley, who established Analytic Music Therapy. Analytic Music Therapy was a blend of music therapy and theory, involving the effect of music on the unconscious mind. Similar to Al-Farabi, came Helen Bonny. During her work she founded what is referred to as “GIM” (Guiled Imagery and Music). Sometime after this, she dedicated her time to co-authoring a book, and studying the effects of music on the imagination. Bonny also spent time studying music therapy with E. Thayer Gaston. Gaston helped develop music therapy in the United States through her psychologist background. Gaston received one of the greatest honors during her lifetime; she was named to the Music Educators Hall of Fame in 1986. Another notorious music guru was Paul Nordoff. Nordoff studied piano with the Philadelphia Conservatory and soon became an American composer with a great interest in music therapy. He studied at Julliard with many other important music influences and passed on his knowledge through teaching at Michigan State and Bard College. The link between music and therapy came easily for Concetta M. Tomaino. Tomaino focused her studies on the musical effects of stroke victims, as well as those with Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. She is the co-founder and executive director of the Institute for Music and Neurological Function. Last but not least is Alfred A. Tomatis. He was known as an inventor. He connected the link between music and hearing ailments by helping professional singers advance.
Music therapy is a growing health-care field dedicated to finding the best way to help those who suffer from a number of complications. Music as a treatment is a more personal way to improve your health. It can be advantageous in other ways as well. Music can penetrate our society making other cultures more familiar. It has the ability to reach a great amount of people in a very influential way. It is clear that music can affect the body and mind in many powerful ways.
Below are informative, useful links about Music therapy, its benefits, and additional information.
- The American Music Therapy Association Website helps to increase public awareness about the advantages of music therapy through education in a rapidly changing world.
- The NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development aims to increase the level of interest in music therapy and offers a Master’s Degree in music therapy.
- The American Cancer Society holds the most reliable cancer treatment information through music therapy.
- This article, Music Therapy Helps People with Disabilities, outlines a tragic story of those who have lost the ability to speak fluently but are somehow able to sing.
- These Frequently Asked Questions about music therapy can help answer any question you may have.
- Berklee can offer you a possible career in music therapy.
- The Center for Music Therapy is dedicated to making music and providing therapies and treatment services to those in need.
- Collegeboard.com provides a great descriptive list of what’s important to know if your major is music therapy.
- The Certification Board for Music Therapists certifies music therapists all over the United States.
- The Center of Ethnomusicology at Columbia University is a great resource.