Therapy can come in all shapes and sizes, with some methods being more fitting for different folks during varying chapters throughout their lives. One of the most beautiful aspects of music is its ability to heal and free so many of us. How can music therapy help us day to day?
Some of us may be tricked into thinking that music therapy is a new age term and doesn't really hold any weight at all but wouldn't you be surprised to find out that the term was first referenced all the way back to 1789? This appeared in "an unsigned article in Columbian Magazine titled "Music Physically Considered." In the early 1800s, writings on the therapeutic value of music appeared in two medical dissertations, the first published by Edwin Atlee (1804) and the second by Samuel Mathews (1806)."
This wonderful gift to us all takes many different forms. Just some of the many variations include the Bonny Method, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, NMT (Neurologic Music Therapy) and Kodaly. Just like all other forms of psychological treatments and theories, music is not alone in having many different approaches. To put a spotlight on just one of the specialties, the Kodaly method "has been observed that this method helps to improve intonation, rhythm, and music literacy, as well as provide a positive impact on perceptual function, concept formation, motor skills, and learning performance in a therapeutic setting." as studied by Pharmacist Yolanda Smith.
It has been studied and said that one of the proven freeing methods is freeform drumming, where the patient is able to release stress, trauma and bottled up anger through the limitless and boundless motions of drumming. Additionally, structured rhythms assist in engaging control of the breath, often providing power to the patient and giving them control over the breath and therefore their emotional reactions. Another incredible method of music therapy is that of singing, one that many of us take for granted. "Studies have shown that listening to songs or singing along with them helps in repairing damaged brain tissues. This is a reason why singing is a crucial part of treating Parkinson’s disease, dementia, or Alzheimer’s (Gerdner and Swanson,1993)."
Many of us, especially during these quarantine times, are without the luxury of accessing music therapists in our homes. In this case, we highly suggest that you seek out assistance virtually. Not only can this be an incredible time-saver in terms of commute, it can also help to ease some fo the stress and fear that can come along with opening up to a new person, especially when you're speaking on matters of the heart. So, if we are not feeling particularly ready for a one on one, what about doing our own small sessions using some of the tools and practices of music therapy at home?
Music therapy can be a beautiful unexplored avenue that may just come in handy when it comes to handling the emotions and daily life for both you and your loved ones. You may even find it sharpening your own musical skills in ways that you never anticipated. The healing properties of music still have many facets that have yet to be uncovered, surely sharing much more wisdom and grace with us than we may give it credit for.