Music Therapy – What Is It And How Does It Help?

Looking for a way to liven up the party? You play upbeat music. Going through a heartbreak? You play something from Taylor Swift. Doing your daily yoga? Type in “Yoga playlist” in Spotify. That right there is enough evidence that we can’t live without music. It’s no wonder why people react positively to Music Therapy, and it’s amazing that the results people show after completing all sessions are all towards self-recovery and self-discovery.

But what exactly is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is a specialized practice of expressive arts therapy that uses music to improve health or functional outcomes. It consists of a process in which a music therapist utilizes music and all its facets-physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual—to help clients improve their physical and mental health.

In some instances, the client’s needs are addressed directly through music; in others, they are addressed through the relationships that develop between the client and therapist. It is used with individuals of all ages and with a variety of conditions, including mental health issues, medical problems, physical limitations, sensory impairments, developmental disabilities, substance abuse issues, communication disorders, interpersonal problems, and aging. It also helps to: improve learning, build self-esteem, reduce stress, support physical exercise, and facilitate a host of other health-related activities.

The Benefits of Music Therapy

Music therapy can be used to help people with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental health concerns.

Traditionally, research about it has focused on how music can influence the body and mind. A variety of studies have demonstrated that listening to music can promote beneficial changes in the body and brain, and can be used to successfully treat a range of health problems, including:

Pain management

Music may reduce chronic pain in some people by up to 21% and improve the quality of life for those with chronic pain due to cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia.

Anxiety disorders

Listening to specially arranged music can decrease state anxiety—anxiety that’s related to a particular situation or event—in people preparing for surgery.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Music can help people with dementia improve their memory for recently presented information and recall personal memories, according to several studies. The use of individualized music may also lead to improvements in behavioral symptoms such as agitation and depression.

A number of studies also suggest that music-based interventions may be helpful for children with autism when used along with other therapies.

Music Therapy with Autsim

Music therapy is a form of treatment that uses rhythm, melody, and harmony to achieve a therapeutic goal. This kind of therapy can be seen as a combination of therapy and music, which provides children with autism an opportunity to develop skills in a fun way.

For autistic children, music provides structure, routine, and understanding of cause and effect, which are important developmental milestones for autistic children. It also develops motor skills through singing and dancing which allows them to move around and be more active. The therapist can also create activities where the child can be asked to repeat words that are sung by the therapist. Research has shown that it improves speech articulation while helping children with autism feel more comfortable expressing themselves in public. Music can also be used as an adaptive tool for calming children when they feel anxious or overwhelmed; it can help them focus better and decrease agitation

Children often imitate the actions of others in order to learn how to perform an action themselves. When it comes to music therapy this imitation can be used as a way for autistic children to learn how to communicate better with other people.

Many autistic children respond positively to musical experiences including listening to music or moving along with the beat of the music. This is a great opportunity for therapists to help build rapport with the child by sharing their interests and learning more about each other through music.

Individuals who can benefit from Music Therapy

Music therapy can be used in a variety of ways in terms of treatment. The most important thing to remember is that the client’s needs come first, and the therapist will use their skills to create a plan that they think would best help the client. The diverse nature of music means it can be applied in the treatment of concerns both physical and psychological. A lot of people don’t realize how powerful music can be for someone in need. Music therapists are trained to tailor sessions to the specific needs of their clients, helping them achieve their goals.

A boy having a a music therapy session

Music therapy is a means to an end. It’s not really about the music; it’s about using music to influence human behavior in adaptive ways. That’s why people see music therapists working with autistic children, elderly folks with dementia, even sometimes with people who have been injured on the job (during recovery). Music therapy is also seen to have a positive effect on people who have mental health issues.

Music Therapy in Mental Health

When we hear the word “therapy”, we usually think of talk therapy. But another type of therapy – music therapy – is becoming more popular and accepted in mental health care settings.

Using music may be an effective way to help people with mental health issues. It can help with recovery from trauma, improve mood, reduce anxiety, manage stress, develop social skills, enhance memory, and even cope with physical pain. It may also be used to help treat mental disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder.

Music therapists work closely with their clients to understand what they need and may try different kinds of musical activities until they find the right one. For example, some autistic kids shut down around adults but might react positively to a therapist playing a drum or bell. Some children might sing songs or hum melodies that help them express their feelings.

It can be used alone or with other forms of treatment for conditions such as depression, substance abuse, personality disorders, eating disorders, and schizophrenia.

Walkthrough: Music Therapy Techniques

Everyone is affected by music, and research shows us that music can have beneficial effects on our health. Music therapists use music to aid in treating both physical and psychological concerns.

A guy teaching a little girl how to play a guitar

Music therapy is an established health profession that uses music to address the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. After assessing the strengths and needs of each client, the qualified music therapist provides the indicated treatment including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music.

Through musical involvement in the therapeutic context, clients’ abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives. It also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words. Research supports its effectiveness in many areas such as overall physical rehabilitation and facilitating movement, increasing people’s motivation to become engaged in their treatment, providing emotional support for clients and their families, and providing an outlet for the expression of feelings.

Music therapists use a variety of methods to achieve therapeutic goals with their clients. While not all music therapists use the same methods, these are some examples of activities they put in a package:

  • Improvising
  • Listening
  • Moving to music
  • Performing
  • Singing
  • Songwriting
  • Discussing lyrics
  • Creating imagery based on music themes

Some Instruments can include voice, guitar, piano, drums, or other instruments, even DJ decks, both vinyl and digital. Music may be live or recorded. It is used in various ways depending on the patient’s needs and goals. For example, therapists use music for functional and motor skills development by having clients walk or dance to the beat; for cognitive development by exploring sound patterns and lyrics; for emotional development when clients improvise to express feelings; and for social skill development in group settings.

Music Therapy Limitations

So how exactly does it affect our lives and our well-being?

There is still much to discover, but it appears that musical activities stimulate the part of the brain responsible for reward and memory processing. Creativity can be enhanced, moods can be improved, social skills can be learned and developed, and personal bonds can be formed.

It heightens levels of relaxation, and in doing so, allows a person to be more receptive to new ideas and creative stimulation. In this way, music plays a vital role in helping patients of all kinds to improve their mood, enhance their cognitive function, improve their sleep patterns, reduce stress, and much more.

As a complementary medicine, it is not intended to replace traditional medical treatment for specific illnesses or conditions. However, it can benefit many individuals who are experiencing stress or who have mental or physical health concerns.

Music Therapy Services Near You

Your Sound Lady is operating in East and West Sussex, offering a variety of therapeutic music services to address all your needs.

Your Sound Lady believes music has the power to transform our personal experience of health and well-being. There are many different types and styles of DJing, from radio to club, vocal, performance, and pub.

In the therapeutic music package, Your Sound Lady combines everything that she has to offer into a 1-day Therapeutic Creative Discovery Workshop in Digital Music Production, DJing, and Breathwork package.

Head over to check the services section to check what they offer and pick the one that suits your time and needs!

“FAQ’s | American Music Therapy Association (AMTA)”, 2005
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