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Music Therapy


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Music Therapy

  1. 1. TYLOR BROWN<br />MUSIC THERAPY<br />DUE: APRIL 11TH 2011<br />“Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn't mean he lacks vision…” Stevie Wonder. A person cut off from his ability to see, does not hold him back from seeing the world. The creativity of music evolves a different kind of world, rhythm, and contrast for those who cannot see. From a person who has seen the world with wide eyes, my curiosity has always been high in the world of disabilities and music. I am a true believer that music can heal almost anything, and more and more people are starting to believe that as well. Music therapy is defined as, “Music therapy is the skillful use of music and musical elements by an accredited music therapist to promote, maintain, and restore mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health” (Friends of MUSIC THERAPY, 2011). Music therapy to me is a unique, yet efficient way of letting people create themselves, and helps paint pictures as to how the world really is. Not only can music therapy work for the blind, but it can also work the deaf, mentally challenged, and physically handicapped. Many talented musicians, artists, and inventors have taken their deficiency and shaped it into something beautiful and unique to them and themselves only. <br />I’ve always been interested in music, and started playing an instrument as soon as I could get my hands on one. I think that music is an important use of therapy that people rarely look at as being “efficient” when it comes to curing someone. Music sends pulses, vibrations, and tones to a person whether they are blind, deaf, or mentally challenged. Each person acts differently to the quality of sound that they are listening to. Music therapy could help relieve stress, personal difference, and allow that person to create things for themselves the way they would like to see it. Some songs for some people may be harsh toned, and makes them uneasy when listening to it but at the same time, another person could perceive the same song as happy and carefree so they want more of it. Besides music being used for therapeutics, it allows a person to find their own identity and shape their own world to what they feel is real.<br /> Music therapy started early in society. Some researchers believe that melodic tones were recorded even back to the years of Aristotle and Plato. For more relatable purposes however, music started curing during/after the World Wars. Musicians would play music for war veterans with physical and emotion disturbances to help ease the pain of the war. After record improvements of recoveries, the hospitals realized that they found something that was working, so decided to hire people to play for their patients. The idea of music therapy blazed like fire across the nation, and led to the first music therapy program in 1944 (American Music Therapy Association, 1999). Today, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and psychiatric facilities use music therapy as an efficient way of stress release, coping, communication skills, and overall quality of life. <br />The impression that most people get is that music is only temporarily; what most do not understand is that music is a lesson in how to deal with things, not just a temporary fix. The different beats to music, along with tone and quality can change a persons’ way of thinking and alertness. It has shown that certain brainwaves allow the mind to switch processes more rapidly, which therefore allows the capacity of the brain to be more abundance and equipped. Different tones can produce alterations in brainwaves which correlate with the autonomic nervous system. Music therapy can help change major factors such as heart rate by producing waves that produce calm, peaceful feelings to patients. Music therapy has counteracted different stress related conditions like chronic stress, anxiety, and many others. The mind is a very powerful creation, and can transform, create, and accept anything it wants to. Music allows the brain to surrender itself to overwhelming things, and create a different mindset that can be everlasting to that individual (Stress Management, 2007).<br />There are two very distinct types of music therapy which are adaptive and palliative. Adaptive music therapy is more for people that were born with their disability and are using music to help adapt to their way of life. Palliative is the unique way of using music for physical, mental and emotional instabilities. In my career as a speech language pathologist, I hope to work with different therapies such as palliative music therapy for patients with speech and hearing problems. Since I would work with mostly deaf and blind patients, the music therapy would help more on their motor skills, since they have grown up in an isolated world. The beneficial outcomes of therapy would be sensory stimulation, an agreement of them being different, an awareness of other people and how they perceive things, motor skills, interaction with other people (with disabilities and without), and attention span (“MUSIC THERAPY AND THE BENEFITS TO DEAF AND BLIND CHILDREN”, 1998). Music therapy is a trained profession; people that use music therapy and are not trained can sometimes have no beneficial outcomes and/or make the patient experience discomfort (“Music Therapy”, 2011). That goes to show that you don’t really need to hear everything to be able to understand everything.<br />With therapy, there are also two different approaches that a therapist could take. The two types of therapies that therapists use are receptive and interactive. Receptive therapy is more about a patients experience and hard times through life and is tied into music in a comforting process. Interactive therapy is used more for involvement with actual sounds and producing music. There are many types of effective receptive therapies such as music assisted-relaxation and imagery portrayal. I think the idea of putting imagery into music is the best of both worlds. Even if the person can’t see, a picture can be described, and magnified by a sound. The balance between music and imagery is a beautiful way to gain imagery sensors, feelings, and boost creativity. Interactive therapy is all about being hands on. A great way to involve music with an interactive therapy is dancing. Using dance in therapy, allows patients to listen to different types of music and physically interpret what they feel while the song is playing. If a patient is incapable of dancing, or just prefers not to, there is always my favorite, music making. It’s not everyone’s favorite, but personally making music yourself gives you the most self-satisfaction; making music can be taught, but it can only be accomplished by the individual. Making music can build confidence, independent assurance, and overall self-fulfillment and happiness (“Music Therapy Interventions and Techniques”, 2008).<br />The experience that a person partakes in can have the most aiding effects of all. The therapist has to learn his/her patient first, understand what types of things they enjoy, the severity of their disability, and the need that either patient or caretaker would like to see. Many people get the false idea that a person has to have some music ability to be able to undergo such treatment, but it’s not true by any means; the sessions will improve music ability, but will have the same type of effects whether the person has a musical background or not. The sessions have the patient look at all the aspects of music like lyrics and the flow of ideas, the image that the music is trying to create, and sometimes harmonics with the songs (American Cancer Society, 2011). A session usually lasts about an hour, and works with the patient, the patient and the family, and sometimes recorded for keepsakes. I personally believe that when harmonics are present, it’s almost like the pitches and how they vibrate create different emotions. Some pitches can make a person feel beautiful because the pitches are placed so well together.<br />The main point of this paper was to show how affective music therapy can be. The only way to really understand how powerful it is is to hear/read the stories for one’s self. <br />Laura's Story<br />“Laura, an Inuit girl, was relocated with her family from their home in a remote area of the Canadian North to seek treatment for her illness. She was hospitalized for several weeks on the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at SickKids. Laura spoke minimal English, was frightened and somewhat withdrawn. Ruth was asked to help Laura cope with her hospitalization and extended treatment. During the first music therapy session Laura was obviously interested in the instruments, but too shy to sing - even though she loved to sing at home with her family. Upon learning that Dad played the drum, Ruth gave both he and Laura a small hand-held lollipop drum and invited dad to sing. Dad knelt down by the bedside, began a steady beat on the drum and sang songs of their homeland in their native tongue. Soon Laura joined in. Together they sang, laughed and enjoyed making music. Many staff came by to witness the 'transformation' of this little girl, whom they knew as so shy and reserved. Laura felt proud of her accomplishments. Ruth offered to videotape their time together to provide happy memories of the hospital stay. As Laura's condition deteriorated and her treatment intensified it was expected she would be transferred in the Intensive Care Unit. Knowing what was ahead, Ruth made a video tape of Laura at mom's request. Laura's condition remained very precarious for several days in the ICU. She was put on a breathing machine and was often unconscious. During this time, Ruth came to visit, and with dad, surrounded Laura with songs of comfort, faith and courage. The family now had the copy of the videotape, reminding them of precious time together and giving them hope that they would once again sing with their daughter. Laura gradually regained strength. A physician commented on how wonderful it was to see Laura begin to play the drum again, ever so weakly, in her ICU bed, even when she was unable or uninterested in doing anything else. Clearly the music therapy served as an important support for Laura and her family during this difficult time. Thankfully Laura made an amazing recovery. Today she is a happy, healthy girl”<br />Laura’s Story is direct quotation from “Friends of MUSIC THERAPY”<br />Stories like Laura’s help people that have never experienced something life altering understand just how important the little things can be in a situation like that. Ever since reading about Laura’s story, I’ve watched countless videos on how inspirational music can be, and how other people have supported the therapeutic ways of music. Laura’s story was provided by SickKids, which is an organization helping kids with emotional and physical disorders. <br />The reason for music is endless. To be born with a hearing problem limits that person’s whole way of life would be a terrible thing to go through. Today, people like music therapists and researches are trying to make those people hear again, or try their hardest to show them what it’s like. A lot of people take for granted the little things they hear, see, touch, and smell and will never really understand what it is like to be deprived of their senses or ability to perceive things properly. Music therapy teaches people to create, imagine and explore their own sounds, sights and feelings. In society today, more and more people are chaotic about solutions and cures found with medical research and studies; society needs to realize that the most important factor in a solution is the body and mind of a person. Satisfying the mind, heart, and body of a person, allows a new strength, a new will, and a new urge when they achieve self-fulfillment with music. The restoration of a person can make the slightest to all the difference when it comes to a deficiency or conquering a problem. Music allows a person to open up to what they would like, create what they wish, and hopefully encourage the will to keep going.<br />