Music Therapy

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Music Therapy

Music therapy is the prescribed use of music and musical interventions in order
to restore, maintain, and improve emotional, physical, physiological, and
spiritual health and well-being (Lindberg). So one finds the selections under
the New Age/Relaxation section of the record store about as relaxing as water
torture? Just because one's taste runs more to Sousa than to soothing doesn't
mean one can't reap all these relaxation benefits music is supposed to have.
Music therapy works primarily by changing moods, which alters brain chemistry.
This can have many effects--making concentration easier, easing anxiety and
fostering patience(Hendrick-16). "Music," as the old saying goes,
"has charms to soothe the savage beast." It can improve a person's
psychological, cognitive, and social functioning--especially when it has
familiar lyrics that evoke pleasant memories and a strong , repetitive beat that
makes it easy to follow along (Sacks). "(Rhythm) is there in the cycles of
the seasons, in the migrations of the birds and animals, in the fruiting and
withering of plants, and in the birth, maturation, and death of
ourselves."--Mickey Hart of Grateful Dead "(Music Therapy) can make
the difference between withdrawal and awareness, between isolation and
interaction, between chronic pain and comfort, between demoralization and
dignity."--Barbara Crowe (Quotes About...) "It lifts us from our
frozen mental habits and makes our minds move in ways they ordinarily
cannot...when the sound stops, we fall back into our mental wheelchairs."--
Robert Jourdain (McDonnel-C05) Music Therapy benefits many types of people, such
as the mentally ill, abused, terminally ill, developmental learning disabled,
and academic learning disabled. The goals of music therapy include improving
self-esteem, improving social interactions with peers, increasing participation,
developing coping skills, reducing stress anxiety, creating a non-abusive
lifestyle, decreasing fear, decreasing pain, and behavior management, just to
name a few (Lindberg). "Almost all children respond to music. Music is an
open-sesame and if you can use it carefully and appropriately, you can reach
into that child's potential for development." --Dr. Clive Robbins (Quotes
About..) Preliminary findings of a nearly completed study at Beth Israel to be
published in 1998, show that music performs as well as or sometimes better than
sedation in calming children before tests such as EEG's and CAT scans. Music has
a lot of universality. You bypass so many barriers to communication, and it
seems to reach more of the child than anything else." --Clive Robbins
(McDonnel-C05) "In people who are depressed, the ratio of pleasant to
unpleasant events gets out of balance." (Munson;Walsh42) It's likely that
both the music and the human contact increased the number of pleasant events for
people involved. "With music, it's not just that these pleasant events are
happening to you. You are in some ways taking control to make the pleasant
events happen." --Larry Thompson,PhD (Munson;Walsh-42) If anxiety is
involved in depression, as it often is, the right kind of music may help someone
de-stress. This doesn't necessarily mean you can blast Pearl Jam and call it
therapy, or that you can write off your CD collection as a medical expense, but
it might reinforce your idea that Glenn Miller means more than ocean sounds to
your mental state (Munson;Walsh-42). Music can relieve stress whether the stress
comes from the work-place or something more serious like a major illness (Luque).
Ancient cultures used sound to affect the chemical balance of the brain. The
positive statements were added to remove the feelings of helplessness from
patients and return them to a sense of control. "(It might) not neccesarily
cure them, but it can change things. It might not be quantity for extending
life, but it is quality in enjoying life more. The brain is impacted by what it
perceives. What we are trying to do is change the negative to a positive, and it
all translates into physiology. It's more than just sounding mystical, a
fantasy. There's medical reality. There is real potential for healing in music,
imagery, and positive affirmations."--Dr. Lee S. Berk (Luque) It's hard for
many mental patients to put their frustrations into words, but music therapy
lets them communicate their feelings freely through the expression of enjoyment
of music (Lindberg, B.). The music helps underscore the message (Hendrick-16).
The order, harmony, and beauty of music seizes our imaginations and emotions and
contrasts with the chaos of everyday life. "While physical movement is
choked with the starts and stops and stumbles, music establishes a continuous
flow, and does it in perfect proportions." --Robert Jourdain (McDonnell).
"Patients can benefit from using music therapy as an active, creative,
expression of their personality." --Rachel McCaffrey (Lindberg).
"Music is an excellent therapy because is