What is Music Therapy?
Music therapy means helping an individual achieve defined goals for mental, physical, emotional, social and cognitive development with the help of music in different forms, depending on one’s needs and capabilities.
Music therapy particularly works because of the way music activates the brain. Apart from activation, music also touches people on an emotional and social level. Music is a beautiful way to connect our mind to the body and soul. Music pacifies a broken heart, boosts the energy of a happy mind, is the best companion for a celebration, relaxes and calms the body and our brain. Almost everyone enjoys music; hence through research it is considered an ideal approach to treat non-musical problems.
How Music Therapy is Beneficial to Your Health and Wellness?
The various reasons why music works as a therapy are listed below:
1. Music is for all:
Right from singing lullabies to infants, to toddlers reciting poems and learning ABCs in a singing pattern, music is embedded in our system right from birth. While growing up, teenagers are fond of music that their favorite band plays, and older generation likes music of various kinds, from rock, soft metal to spiritual or religious. The underlining fact to it is that every age group can associate to music in one-way or the other.
2. Music connects to our emotions:
Different music has different effect on an individual. A particular piece of music may remind one of a friend, a situation or instill sudden happiness or sorrow. Music has the ability to tap into our emotional systems.
3. We respond subconsciously to music:
Whenever a person is listening to music, one’s heartbeat might increase, or get goose bumps, or suddenly feel sorrow, it’s because of the psychological reaction your brain is having to music. Trained music therapists can use this to help soothe a patient and make him relax or try to revive a person in coma.
4. Music enhances our attention:
From an early age on, music has the power to gain and retain our attention. Expert music therapists can work on patients having mental problems related to attention span, using this ability.
5. Speech and music use shared neural circuits:
As proven by scientific facts, listening to someone’s speech or listening to and singing music that has lyrics, uses shared neural circuits. Thus, music therapists can help the patients having speech impairment and communication gap to help them learn to talk again.
6. Music stimulates memory:
Music stimulates our memory in a very powerful manner. Listening to just the first line of a song can take one down a memory lane. From a person, to a moment, to a place to a decade back, music can take a person to another time in just a flash. This ability specifically helps music therapists in treating patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s in particular, where the section of the brain that allows direct access to memories is damaged.
7. Our bodies respond to rhythm:
Ever noticed our foot tapping unconsciously to music at a party? That’s because our body syncs with the beat and matches the rhythm. This can allow music therapists to help treat patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. In Parkinson’s, the part of the brain that allows the thought process to develop into action and movement is damaged. Music that has a repetitive, rhythmic beat can stimulate gross-motor movement, which in turn, helps in gait training and improving the walking speed in such patients.
8. Music is a social involvement:
People bond over music on the basis of interests and likability. Be it a music class in school, a musical concert, or singing a choir in church, musical experience is best shared in a group, by and large. This makes it easier for music therapists to conduct a music therapy session in a group with like-minded people. In addition, an individual opens up more in a group, when similar people, who have same stories to share or experiencing similar problems, come together.
9. Music creates positive state of mind:
People, in general, enjoy music. This, certainly, is not the only reason why music therapy works, but a great incentive, nevertheless. Music stimulates the part of the brain that controls the emotions and is said to generate positive outlook. This helps keeping anxiety, stress and depression at bay by keeping optimism higher.
10. Music enhances learning:
Right from childhood, we have been learning various things through music. Because of the general inclination towards music, almost everything taught through it, concepts, ideas and information is grasped easily and much faster. Also, the information and knowledge learned through music tends to stay in our minds for a longer period.
Music therapy is not only for people suffering from a certain ailment. We can use it to have a positive outlook and live a relaxed and stress free life.