Music Therapy: Music on the Mind

Taylor West

We all listen to music and some of us say we can’t live without it. But what if you were prescribed Mozart to correct your brain or your body? This woould be considered music therapy. Scroll to learn more about what music theraoy is, how it works, and the importance of it to others.

What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program” according to American Music Therapy Association. It is fairly similar to regular therapeutic sessions where a patient meets with a credited therapist and sets personalized goals only the therapist plans sessions with music that are chosen to help the patient achieve their own personal goals. So what type of music are they listening to? Well any music that is typically more calming like folk or classical music can be used in a music therapy session. Even the soothing sounds of nature can be helpful with a patient. Typically you’d want to avoid loud and rambunctious music like rock or heavy metal. These types of genres can raise your vital signs such as your respiratory rate, heart rate, and blood pressure and often times this can be the opposite of the main goal for the session.

Who goes to Music Therapy?

There are many health benefits and things that music therapy can help with. For example: 

  • Stress 
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Severe Cognitive and Physical Disabilities
  • Insomnia
  • PTSD
  • Autism
  • Alzhiemer’s
  • Dementia
  • Parkinson’s
  • Rehab patients

Just to name a few, and it battles these symptoms or disorders by:

  • Elevating mood
  • Lowering heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure
  • Relaxing a patient
  • Lifting elf confidence, awareness and acceptance
  • Relieveing pain
  • Activate and develop the brain
  • Encourages to use and develop motor skills

This is scratching the surface of all the amazing things music can do to our minds. This helps to remain an open option for many different cases of patients. 

How Does it Work?

Music is known to be linked to the brain in several different ways. Depending if the patient is having an active or passive session, music can be used to alter one’s state of mind, mood, or their physical coordination. Song with more rhythm can be played in order to let thee patient(s) beat, tap, or stomp along to the pulse of the music. This can also include percussion instruments for a group of patients to play along together. In other sessions the patients may write song lyrics or simply listen to them or sing them and this allows them to be more expressive in a way their physical or psychological disability might not let them. After the song is over they could talk about how they feel and what they’re thinking about or how the song relates to them. There are many variables that contribute to the way a session may go. Other ways music therapy works is to increase activity in the brain to enhance memory or thought process. It can also be used to affect a patient’s mood as it has been found that listening to music releases neurochemicals in the brain such as dopamine, which is responsible for making a person feel happy.

Why is it Important?

Music therapy can be a great alternative for patients who aren’t responding to regular therapy in an effective way. Since music therapy lends out a helping hand in multiple directions it includes a large population of people who have another path of hope or help when all else fails. In addition, it can lower the need for prescription drugs. This helps lower the rates of addiction or overdose on prescription drugs.

In another perspective, music therapy is very important to the science field with psychology and neurology.  When researching how music affects the brain you learn a lot about how it works and it’s capabilities. Also, without the scientific research to support studies on music therapy we would not be able to say music therapy can be used for clinical purposes. But with the reasearch scientists currently have, musical therapists are able to tend to thousands of patients and make life better for them in a very natral harmless way.

Sources

Kimberly S. “What Is a Typical Music Therapy Session like?” Musictherapymaven.com, 9 Feb. 2011, http://www.musictherapymaven.com/what-is-a-typical-music-therapy-session-like/.

L’Ecuyer, Danielle. “The Health Benefits Of Music Therapy.” HealthPrep, 30 May 2018, healthprep.com/living-healthy/the-health-benefits-of-music-therapy/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=search&utm_campaign=267642184&utm_content=1266637681713462&utm_term=music therapy session&msclkid=746a202af51617fbfd177bc5f713c981.

Bumanis, Al. “American Music Therapy Association.” What Is Music Therapy | What Is Music Therapy? | American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), 23 Jan. 2014, www.musictherapy.org/amta_press_release_on_music_therapy_-_jan_2014/.

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