Essay: Music therapy

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  • Subject area(s): Health essays
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  • Published on: November 19, 2015
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  • Music therapy
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The topic that I choose for my project is Music Therapy. I choose this topic because I really enjoy music, I grew up listening to all types of genre of music, my father was really interested in music which influenced me. I used to play flute in grade school, I was in the choir and I was in a few musical plays. My father was in a band for years and then when I was born he would sing to me every night, and I just grew up to like music. There is all kinds of music for different occasions and can put you in different moods. I listen to all kinds of genre of music, it puts me in a different mood and music can also remind me of different memories that have happened in my life whether it’s good or bad. I sing, I dance, I use my lap as a drum, air guitar, and I listen to it to relax and also to get some energy. Music is very powerful for everyone, it really is a therapy for people and for me personally I love music it’s so inspiring and soothing I really don’t know what my life would be like if I didn’t have music. As I researched for this paper I realized music is so magical and it can really change people’s lives drastically and it can be used as a treatment for many different people, whether they have mental disorders, learning disabilities, addictions, dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression, and anxiety. Music is a medicine and everyone can benefit from enjoying the sound of music.
The first question is, what is Music Therapy? Music Therapy is used to notice emotional, cognitive and social issues in people of all ages. This therapy is used for people that have disabilities and illnesses, but music can be enjoyed by anyone (Health Services). It helps to motivate and encourage people with specific goals that are nonmusical related, in which Music therapist use their training to effect changes in the cognitive, physical, communication, social, and emotional skills ( When it comes to music it’s very educational and creative and it helps people of all ages and abilities to grow socially, mentally and physically which leads it to be used as a technique to affect children and adults. Music is an activity that involves using the brain (eMedExpert). Music affects the brain, it captivates and helps maintain attention, stimulating and utilizing many parts of the brain. It reflects a person’s ability, music provides a meaningful context, encourages movement, it brings back memories and emotions and people of all ability levels can participate. Music bypasses the intellectual stimulus in the brain and moves to our subconscious. Music Therapy has been recognized to be a healing power in different cultures and it has been shown to have influences on the immune system, blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate and pain perception ( Music can be distracting if it’s loud and it can compete for a person’s attention with the activities they are to accomplish, but overall music can be beneficial. (eMedExpert).
When it comes to the history of Music Therapy it’s as old as the writings of Aristotle and Plato. Pythagoras, Plato and Aristotle, they all wrote how music affects a person’s health and behavior (Health Services). It began after World War I and World War II when community musicians went to Veteran hospitals around the country to play for the Veterans who were suffering physical and emotional trauma from the wars. The patient’s had a physical and emotional response to music that led the doctors to request the hiring of musicians by the hospitals (History of Music Therapy). The earliest known music therapy appearance was in 1789 in an unsigned article in Columbian Magazine. In the early 1800s there were writing on the therapeutic value of music that appeared, the first one was published by Edwin Atlee and the second by Samuel Mathews. The 1800s saw the first recorded music therapy intervention and the first recorded systematic experiment in music therapy. In 1903 Eva Augusta Vescelius founded the National Society of Musical Therapeutics. Another founder named Isa Maud IIsen started a National Association for Music in Hospitals in 1926. Years later, the first music therapy college training programs were created in the 1940s. The first academic program in music therapy was established in 1944 by Michigan State University and then other universities started to establish the same programs including University of Kansas, Chicago Musical College, and College of the Pacific and Alverno College. National Association for Music Therapy was founded in New York on June 2, 1950. American Association for Music Therapy was established in 1971, this organization was similar to National Association for Music Therapy. Certification Board for Music Therapists was established in 1983. Lastly there is American Music Therapy Association was organized in 1998 and is current it’s the home of and serves over 5,000 music therapists. This association is the largest music therapy organization in the world, it’s in over 30 countries around the world (History of Music Therapy). In today’s world, music has grown so rapidly and music therapists work in different settings including schools, hospitals and clinics, substance abuse centers, nursing homes and private practices (Health Services).
When it comes to music therapy it is a healing process for different types of people. Music does have a positive outcome and effect on people with depression, pain mentally and emotionally, mental disorders, dementia, anxiety disorders and insomnia. There are theories when it comes to music being positively affective to pain, it can produce revulsive effect, give the patient a sense of control, music can cause the body to release endorphins which will counteract with pain and slow music relaxes the body by slowing the breathing and heartbeat. Music is so powerful and good for the heart that it has so many effects on people’s bodies. It can reduce blood pressure, help migraines and headaches, boost immunity, improves memory performances, improves concentration and attention, improve athletic performances, improves to work more productively, improve body movement and coordination, induces sleep, improves mood and decreases depression, enhances intelligence and learning and reduces stress (eMedExpert). Music therapy is such a great medicine for the body and the mind and not a lot of people look at it that way, when you hear a song your whole mood and attitude changes and sometimes you can’t help it, your brain just automatically switches. Music has an influence on people and it is a very helpful treatment for many times of people, especially for autistic children, it helps children communicate and be coordinated whether it’s with rhythm, pronouncing words or just engaging in conversation. Music therapy can open up the mind and allow yourself to communicate in a way that you never thought you could. Children with Autism and others with mental disorders have very low self-esteem and music therapy can effect a person to increase their self-esteem. Examples of Music therapy for mental disorders are singing, dancing and group activities involving movements to the music. It will help with feedback, and identifying a person’s confidence. This therapeutic approach can also help people express their feelings about what they are thinking or how the music made them feel. It brings back memories for people and they can remember the moments they shared, and it can relax the mind to release the stress and pain they keep bottled up inside ( Music is meditation for the brain and the body and it’s a great treatment for everyone whether they need therapy or not.
The population that I would use this approach on would be children with Autism. Before I discuss how I would use this approach, I want to define what Autistic disorder is, it’s a neurodevelopment condition marked by social and communication problems as well as restricted interests and behaviors (Neha Khetrapal pg. 11). Autism is diagnosed before three years old and has a lifelong persistence. The characteristics of Autism is failure to develop normal social interactions, language delay and communication disability, restricted; repetitive and stereotyped behaviors. Children and adults with Autism show poor awareness and often fail to recognize vocal and facial expressions and emotions. When it comes to Music therapy and treating autism there are two main goals to succeed in, improving communication/language and improving socio-behavioral skills (Neha Khetrapal pg. 11). After researching and learning about Music therapy I found it really interesting and educating on how it affects different people and different ways, especially individuals with Autism. I love music and how it affects the body and mind and learning how it affects Autistic children is amazing. I have family that are Autistic and how they have a hard time speaking, interacting with others and have a hard time expressing themselves; so reading and learning that music can have a big impact on their lives makes me want to learn this approach. The method that I would take to use this approach would be by learning what the child lacks in. The child may know how to express his or her feelings but may not be able to speak what he or she is feeling. I would use Music therapy by using words with tones of the music and sentences with the melodies which will improve their speech (Suzanne B. Hanser pg. 4). I would play music with the child or children and have them move or dance to the music to improve their coordination and also get them involved with others by clapping together or singing along to build up their self-esteem and increasing their communicating skills. I would also get some instruments involved, including hand drums, cow bell, or sticks and having the group play them together to learn how to express themselves since they have a speech deficit and have a hard time speaking fluently. Music will help them express their feelings and also learning how to work with others, it will help the children to interact and have fun. Autistic children also have a hard time remembering things so I would use music approach by singing a sentence, or playing an instrument and having them repeat the sentence or the music sound from the instrument. It’s all about educating and helping the children learn different ways to show emotions. I would have children pick music that they enjoy listening to and make a game out of the song, whether it’s clapping to the beat and singing, doing funny dances or just playing duck, duck, goose to the music. It’s getting the children involved and interacting with the music and I would love to do this approach. What I like about this approach is that knowing music can help someone that has a disorder and that it can be fun is so inspiring. When I think of therapy I think of children being scared and nervous talking to someone for hours and they get irritated because they just want to have fun. Then knowing that there is Music therapy for not just children but adults and they can learn and improve their life skills and have fun at the same time, it’s so interesting to me and inspires me to really try a music approach on someone that is not just Autistic but someone that is depressed or just has a hard time sleeping. I never realized how music can help someone so much without them feeling like they are worthless or embarrassed because they have to go to therapy for their problems. Music helps me all the time, when I’m feeling stressed, I can’t sleep and even having a bad headache; music makes me feel like a new person, different music helps me and sometimes gets me through the day if I’m having a bad day. Knowing that I use music as a therapy for myself without a therapist I know I can influence someone to use music to heal themselves if they are feeling down.

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