Music is a form of art that we all feel close to and connect with very quickly. We may express things much better through music than we could via spoken words. The rhythm, the tone, and the beat of certain music could uplift us from any crisis and a sour mood.
Just as there are other forms of art such as painting or drawing, some people feel close to their senses and soul through listening to music. Hence, music has been considered one of the right ways to engage a person in therapy, and music in itself is regarded as therapy.
Music has a different effect on our mind and mood, which draws out all kinds of emotions from within a person such as, calmness, happiness, thoughtfulness, and sometimes hidden pain. Thus, music therapy could be a powerful source to heal mental health from all sorts of pain and trauma.
Music therapists work on the music’s powerful abilities to connect with a person and use it to create a positive mood in and around them. Music is used in music therapy to heal a wounded mind from all the trauma and pain the person carries inside him/her and let all the stress and anxiety go away as they engage themselves in melodious tunes.
Music therapy is considered better than other forms of treatment, such as counseling sessions or Cognitive behavioral therapy, due to the nature of these therapies that involve communicating with the therapists. Many individuals are not ready or find themselves unable to do so.
Music therapy involves listening to music in a live session with the therapist and making a melody with whatever instrument a person likes to use. The treatment has proved to be improving confidence and communication in several cases. Several sources state that music therapy involves improvisation with melodies. A person is given a particular theme to create a tune on the spot to enjoy making art at the moment.
Music has been considered a human’s deep desire to communicate with melodies since ancient times. It rapidly increased after World War II when depression and anxiety were worldwide, with people living with an existential crisis. In the 1800s, medically, music therapy garnered attention and was recommended by professionals for mental health and recovery.
Music therapy has now been associated with various institutions to help people express themselves much more openly and improve their mental health.
Mechanisms of Music Therapy
The different parts of our brain respond differently to the music and the various elements, such as the pitch, rhythm, melody, etc. The music is perceived by our ears and is processed by the different parts of the brain.
The cerebellum is responsible for processing the music rhythm. The frontal lobe further processes the music’s emotional signals, and the rhythm is understood by the small portion of the right temporal lobe. Hence, it’s a collective effort of the entire ear to the brain.
When we hear music, our body responds very strongly through various reactions, including goosebumps. All of these reactions together lead to making positive and healthy mental health, making music therapy as competent as other therapies in action.
Other therapies actively involve talking and expressing through spoken words, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). But music therapy is more about speaking through melodies and tunes. People who cannot communicate verbally feel comfortable with n their mental health than a regular counseling session.
Moreover, people who feel comfortable having their sessions in a familiar environment could take up music therapy. Playing an instrument for ease of the mind could be done even at their place, especially in children.
Music therapy could generate new interest in a person who takes up a new hobby of playing an instrument, which could provide them with a peaceful mind when facing particular overwhelming emotions or crises in their everyday lives.
The Benefits of Music Therapy
Music therapy has now been known to help reduce blood pressure and heartbeat; this results in reduced stress in an individual. A person receiving radiotherapy and chemotherapy for curing cancer might experience anxiety and stress as a resultant side-effect. Listening to music helps a lot at this time and relieve them of the tension and accumulated stress.
We often listen to music while working out or exercising because it gives us pace and flows to keep ourselves motivated and perform well in our physical rehabilitation. Music keeps us on our toes, and with a flow of rhythm, we stay consistent in our physical activity and exercise.
People have reported that while going for surgery for knees, cardiac angiography, they have listened to music. It helped them relieving stress and easing up all the anxiety, which led to a smooth surgery with no complications. Besides these benefits, music therapy has helped people restoring their speech ability, where people who suffered a stroke and had their body paralyzed caused verbal disability in them.
A stroke damaged the left-side region of n individual while the singing ability resides in the right-hand side. While we sing in our thoughts, we use the left side of the brain, and when we sing, we use our right side.
Music therapy has also shown results in children where it helps them with:
- Improving memory and concentration
- Math skills and reading comprehension in students
- improved self-esteem
- Increase in motivation
- Growing and making more robust bonds with people
- Being emotionally safe and strong
- Offering more interactive ways to express their thoughts
- Being more self-aware
- Children receiving group music therapy sessions become more aware of other people’s needs
- Better listening and language skill
- Sense of healthy familial relationships
These points make music therapy a healthy choice for people to consider for healing their mental health. The more conventional forms of treatment have been around for longer now.
But music therapy can do new wonders and might be a new way to express for those reserved people who find it difficult to communicate verbally or are not very good at expressing their emotions via everyday spoken words.
Music becomes an escape for a healthy and needy mind who screams for help and relief from all the stress and overwhelming emotions, pressing them down and not letting them move forward and progress in life.