By Bailey Scheufler
On those bad days when words seem to fail, music speaks and provides a soothing tune for rehabilitation.
According to the American Psychological Association, an art form such as music has gotten recognized as an effective form of therapy and self-expression dating back ages. Music therapy, in particular, gets seemingly implemented the most, with music known as a common language amongst all. Music therapists work in mental hospitals, rehabilitation centers, treatment centers, nursing homes, mental health centers, drug and alcohol programs, and schools. Music therapy addresses the physical, cognitive, and social needs of an individual or group. Thus, music can be an essential part of the recovery process.
Besides, music sounds are known for:
- Reducing high blood pressure
- Reducing heart rates and stress
- Relaxing muscle tension
- Improving sleep quality
- Enhancing memory and cognitive performance
- Managing pain
- Refining workout performance
- Reducing symptoms of depression
- Improving mood quality
“Music can provoke intense feelings and memories within people,” one inpatient said. “And that can invoke some familiarity, security, and a sense of control in otherwise an uncontrollable environment. That sense of control can help patients feel better and less anxious during their stay.”
Music therapy’s additional benefits are a well-rounded education, social and emotional well-being, and equity and access. According to this study, 88% of families agree that their child’s education must have a music program. Not to mention, 72% of students say they can go to their music teacher or ensemble director for assistance. Lastly, 79% of families say that It would be difficult for them to pay for private music lessons without a school music program.
From making music to listening to songs, sometimes, it not about the music itself, but about everything else that goes into a tune and incorporating these crucial life skills into the real world. A few Instruments commonly used in music-making are the violin, drums, trumpet, trombone, and guitar. Some tools that you and a music therapist can use are analyzing, creating, and exploring music.
“Most people believe that you have to have a musical talent to be able to receive music therapy treatment or participant sessions,” Music Therapist Shiann Melville said. “But this is not so. Music therapy can be for anyone on the lifespan; from infancy to adulthood and no prior knowledge of music is required.”
Examine lyrics to a song. Closely examine the lyrics. An activity that can get used is printing out lyrics to a couple of music pieces to read along with while a therapist sings that particular song. Ask those individuals to highlight different music areas down on paper that holds some meaning. Finally, discuss the participants’ connections with the lyrics they have highlighted. In turn, this creates a better focus for the individual or group. The lyrics to a song make listeners feel like they could sing the music, and they also tell a story or describe a situation that could be relatable. Take a chance on this groundbreaking technique.
Get creative. Creativity is key. Make mediation sounds using an array of instruments. An activity that can enhance creativity is showing an individual or group all of the displayed devices. Then, ask everyone to close their eyes. Next, a music therapist can play each instrument and ask participants to guess which one they hear. With this activity, therapists can allow individuals or groups to express themselves and their interests genuinely. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to new mechanisms you’ve probably never heard of before. Making music can be relaxing and also relieve feelings of fear and anxiety. Connect your left and right brain, strengthen your speech, and improve your memory through these exercises.
Expand your knowledge. Grow your music intellect. Expanding your comprehension of music can increase your dopamine levels. An activity that can be useful is a music therapist plays a random song, and participants have to try and guess what the song, and who the artist is. This can be an innovative way to hear songs you might not have heard before. Let your understanding of music soar by exploring different music genres. Many students use this as a tool to learn and retain knowledge, and you can too. Furthermore, go to a show or two and be open-minded. You might pick up a new favorite song.
“Since the beginning of time,” Melville said, “Music has been used for medicine and healing in different cultures around the world. Music therapy is an effective treatment method because it is individualized specifically for each client or patient based on their needs. We naturally connect with music. Music or a favorite song may remind us of important memories in our lives. Additionally, music brings us together as people and comforts us during times of grief and pain.”
The future of music therapy is promising for all of those music lovers out there. With many advancements in technology and even without, music has and will always connect to our brain and body. The next time you’re in a mental health crisis, don’t shy away from music; embrace it.
Featured image Courtesy of Midiman CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons