Music Therapy

Post by PSIBK, 9 Februari 2010

Music therapy is a therapeutic treatment with the use of music as the primarily non-verbal intervention. It is based predominantly on improvised music in which the children/clients can express themselves, become aware of their feelings and interact more easily.
Music therapy can help in areas including:

  • Autistic spectrum disorder
  • Communication disorders
  • Learning disabilities
  • Physical difficulties
  • Mental health problems
  • Emotional problems
  • Challenging behaviour
  • Palliative Care
  • Trauma]

What happens in a music therapy session?
Music is a powerful emotional medium, which has the power to touch everybody regardless of the nature of the disability or illness. In music therapy there is time for exploring, playing and listening to instruments with the support of a music therapist. It is interactive music which is spontaneously created by the child/client without any musical training or experience required. Accessible instruments such as tuned and untuned percussion are provided for them to play in the way and at the pace that suits their individual needs.

The therapist seeks to establish contact with the client in various ways such as through his/her music, vocal sounds, movement, words or facial expression. Over time it is likely that a trusting relationship will develop between the client and the music therapist. Through this established relationship, the client can experience and explore new ways of relating, leading to development and change.

What are the aims of music therapy?
The aims of music therapy are primarily non-musical and are determined by the needs of each individual.

Typically, they might include:

  • Increasing communication, interaction and self expression
  • Developing an awareness of self and others
  • Providing emotional support
  • Developing skills such as listening, sharing and turn-taking
  • Developing co-ordination and motor control
  • Increasing self confidence
  • Building trusting and meaningful relationships.

Music therapy thus contributes to a child’s/client’s overall development, enabling him or her to reach their full potential in all settings.

Where do the referrals come from?
Referrals for music therapy can be made by:

  • School Teacher/SENCO
  • Care worker, parents
  • Other relevant professionals (psychologist, speech therapist, etc.

The music therapist will then assess the suitability of the client for music therapy.

Music Therapy
Facts About Music Therapy:
Music therapy is a process in which the therapist uses music to help clients to improve or maintain their health. The client’s needs are either addressed directly through music or through the relationship that develops between the therapist and the client. This is used for individuals in all age groups.

It is applicable for a variety of health related problems such psychiatric disorders, physical handicaps, sensory impairments, developmental disabilities, substance abuse, communication disorders, interpersonal problems, and ageing. It can also used to improve learning, build self esteem, reduce stress, and facilitate many other health related activities.

This is an approach to help individuals with problematic behavior to make effective adjustments. Many imbalances found in normal people also can be set right with regular exposure to certain music notes. Music therapy is known to act on the mind much before it is converted into thought and feelings. It has two modes of presentation, passive and active. In the passive mode, the individual only listens to the music that is being played. In the active mode, the individual is made to participate.

Passive form is known to benefit all forms of ailments. It has found usage in improving concentration and memory, and to reduce stress and strain. It is helpful in health problems such as hypertension, and heart ailments. The active form is found to be useful in all neurological problems. It has found usage in helping children in speech problems, to improve speech fluency and in hyperactive children to reduce hyperactivity. Experimental studies have documented the effects of music therapy on quality of life, positive associations and socialization.

Music Therapy Critics

Music therapy is use of music by trained professionals to provide healing. The goal areas of music therapy include motor skills, interpersonal development, cognitive development, self awareness, and spiritual enhancement.

Music therapists are needed for cases such as individuals with special needs, to help with the elderly, and for physical rehabilitation of the stroke victims.

Music therapy is the skillful use of music and musical instruments to promote maintain and restore mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Music has creative and emotional qualities. These qualities are being utilized by the therapist to provide an alternative or complementary form of treatment to the needy.

Music has been successful as a therapy for children with disabilities. It has been used with children of all ages. It plays an important role in developing, maintaining, and restoring physical functioning. Motor coordination can be improved through musical experiences. Eye and hand coordination can be improved through the use of instruments that require precision in physical motion.

The criticism leveled at music therapy is that there is not enough research done to account for the effectiveness of its usage. People who wish to utilize the services of the therapist would like to know how effective the therapy is. There is no answer to that. The answers are always vague because one can not quantify the results. People who are responsible for providing public funds need to be convinced how the therapy is going to work before they can decide in favor of utilizing these funds.

What Kind of Music Is Used In Music Therapy?

Music therapy is a systematic process as it is organized, methodical, and based on knowledge. This therapy proceeds in an orderly manner. It has to go through steps of assessment, treatment and evaluation.

The therapist has to prepare a plan for treatment after making proper assessment of the client’s needs.

The therapist has to select the types of music and musical experiences that will be most relevant to the client. There are basically four types of musical experiences: listening, recreating, composition and improvisation. The selection of music mostly depends on individual needs and tastes. There are three categories of patients; music-learned, music lovers, and non-musical. The type of music is to be chosen accordingly to meet the individual needs of the client.

It is believed that all individuals regardless of age and musical background have the basic capacity for musical expression and appreciation. This basic capacity is inherent and not based on training. The process of human development prepares every one to be music-maker and music-lover at the basic level. This basic capacity has the potential to learn to sing, play simple instruments, react to elements of music and remember music. Care is exercised to adapt music therapy experiences to the client’s capability.

Music therapy consists of experiences such as improvising, re-creating, composing and listening to music. Music listening is used for clients who need to be activated or soothed physically or emotionally. Composing music is used for clients who need to learn decision making and commitments. Playing instruments can help physically disabled clients to develop motor coordination. Re-creative experience is useful for clients to learn adaptive behavior and to master different role behaviors. Improvisation is needed for a client who needs to develop creativity, freedom of expression, and interpersonal skills. Therapist has to choose accordingly.

Some studies have suggested that slow orchestral music is beneficial. In general, music in which there is one beat per second with low tones and less percussion and brass is found to be more suitable.

What Kind of Music Is Used In Music Therapy? Strengths And Limitations Of Music Therapy

Music therapy provides many benefits to the patients who undergo this therapy. It is able to address a variety of client needs such as social, emotional, psychological, physiological, behavioral, communication and spiritual.

Like every therapy, there are strengths and limitations of music therapy.

The benefits that are likely to be available are as follows:

  • It will reduce isolation or withdrawal behavior and provide an engaging experience to improve socialization.
  • It will encourage exploring and expressing feelings and provide emotional support and music associated counseling.
  • It will improve word recall and stimulate long term memory skills.
  • It will improve motivation, increase self esteem, and provide an uplifting and enjoyable feeling.
  • It will reduce nausea, anxiety, pain and heart rate.
  • It will reduce restlessness and wandering, and promote appropriate behavior.
  • It will improve communication and self expression.

Music therapy is useful in the following conditions.

  • Depression
  • Difficulty in expressing thoughts, feelings and desires
  • Complex pain problems
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Anxiety, fear and confusion
  • Cultural and language difficulties

The drawbacks experienced with the music therapy are the following.

  • Some old forgotten feelings may resurface and this may increase depression instead of providing relief.
  • Music therapy is considered very expensive due to lack of general awareness.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s