Numerous scientific and psychological research have demonstrated that music can boost our emotions, reduce depression, improve blood flow in ways similar to statins, lower stress-related chemicals like cortisol, and relieve pain. After surgery, music has been shown to improve patient outcomes. Music is the most researched kind of art therapy, and it has been shown to aid with anxiety, sadness, trauma, psychosis, and stress reduction.
Music, and the power of music, have been evident to us from the dawn of time.
Following World War II, a new profession emerged: music therapy. The types and methods of music therapy have had a great impact, with far-reaching benefits and in a range of contexts.
Music therapy has a number of advantages when used in conjunction with standard therapies, positive psychology, or even as a stand-alone intervention. We’ll look at these advantages in this article.
(1) It helps people cope with anxiety and the physical effects of stress. It also speeds up the healing process.
(2) It has the potential to aid in the treatment of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
(3) Depression and other symptoms in the elderly are reduced by music therapy.
(4) It aids in the alleviation of symptoms associated with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.
(5) Self-expression and communication improve with music therapy.
Goals of Music Therapy
Music therapy’s overarching goal is to meet the individual’s needs. Improved motor function, social skills, emotions, coordination, self-expression, and personal growth are all examples of this.
According to Everyday Harmony, common goals in music therapy include the development of:
(1) Vocal/verbal sounds and gestures are used to communicate.
(2) Social abilities (making eye contact, turn-taking, initiating interaction, and self-esteem)
(3) Sensory abilities (through touch, listening, and levels of awareness)
(4) Physical abilities (fine and gross motor control and movement)
(5) Cognitive abilities (concentration and attention, imitation, and sequencing)
(6) Emotional abilities (expression of feelings non-verbally)
Effects of Music Therapy
The attention, emotion, cognition, conduct, and communication of a client can all be affected by music. It can also help you relax and enjoy yourself (Koelsch et al., 2009). Perception is also influenced by music. Music training improves a person’s ability to decode acoustic information such as pitch height and frequency modulation .
Music has a variety of affects on the activity of many different brain areas (Koelsch et al., 2009). Music can affect the main structures of emotional processing (the limbic and paralimbic structures) in both musicians and ‘non-musicians,’ according to functional neuroimaging research.
The physiological impacts of music listening and producing are continuously being investigated. Given the influence of emotion on the autonomic nervous system, endocrine system, and immunological system – as well as the potential of music to evoke and modify emotions – music therapy may be utilised to treat diseases linked with dysfunctions and imbalances within these systems.
Ways by which Music Therapy can be used
According to The American Music Therapy Association, n.d.: “Research supports the usefulness of music therapy for a wide range of purposes.”
Music therapy can be used to help clients deal with treatment by promoting movement and general physical rehabilitation. It can offer emotional support to clients and their families, as well as a place for them to express their feelings.
Accredited music therapists can assist with patients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury (AMI). For example, after surviving a bullet wound to the head, representative Gabby Giffords used music therapy to help her regain her speech. Music therapy has been shown to help reduce dementia symptoms, asthma episodes in both children and adults, and pain in hospitalised patients.
Music Therapy for children
The Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service has supplied the following information on the use of music therapy with children.
Through songwriting and improvisation, music therapy can be a beneficial technique to satisfy the diverse psychological needs of children. It can allow children to express themselves and communicate with others. Music therapy can also help youngsters see their own abilities, allowing them to keep their sense of self-esteem.
A music therapist can employ live, familiar music in conjunction with physical, social, and cognitive activities to encourage growth in infants and children. In addition, this stimulates contact, engagement, and motivation in young children. The music therapist can utilise relaxing music to relieve anger, discomfort, or anxiety. This also promotes family and child connection.
A music therapist and a kid can produce music together and write songs to assist develop creative self-expression in newborns and early children.
Adolescents can have a bigger say in creating their own music therapy programme. Adolescents can explore a variety of musical activities with the help of a therapist and choose what feels right.
Songwriting, improvising, and/or singing songs by their favourite artists or bands are all possible pastimes for teens. Adolescents may like creating individualised audio/visual projects using technology. In addition to relaxing techniques, the use of live music can be an useful way to assist adolescents minimise discomfort and anxiety.
Children who are chronically ill (or who are long-term hospital patients) or who have a developmental delay may benefit from clinical music therapy. It can benefit youngsters with autism, as well as those who are secluded or confined to their beds. Children who are worried or sad, physically disabled, or who are regularly admitted to the hospital can benefit from music therapy. Finally, therapeutic music therapy can help children who have been through a traumatic event.
We can all attest to music’s power, and its use to instruct, calm, and encourage healing makes it a valid therapy to consider.
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