What is Music Therapy?
Music can be a motivating and fun way to teach all children, especially those who have special needs. Studies have shown that the medium of music can provide the opportunity to learn a variety of life skills. It has been proven to help with a child's growth and development across the lifespan. Music therapy isn't just for children, however. Many studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of music therapy for adults as well. In short, people from every walk of life can enjoy music therapy.
Music therapy has far-reaching benefits since the participant feels a instant connection. The bulk of a music therapy session will consist of the therapeutic interventions. These are activities the therapist facilitates that aim to achieve the client’s non-musical goals. Usually, music-based interventions include activities like playing, composing, improvising, and listening.
So, who can benefit from music therapy?
Individuals with Hearing Impairment
Only a small percentage of hearing impaired individuals cannot hear at all. Most experience some amount of sensation. In these situations, music therapy can help improve a client's speech through the use of concepts like tempo, wavelengths, intonation and rhythm. In a recent study, when hearing impaired children participated in music therapy, they demonstrated improvements in vocabulary, syntax, and tone.
Individuals with Autism
Most psychologists agree that children and adults with autism can experience benefits from listening to music and participating in music therapy. Individuals with autism typically present with an inclination towards music. Music therapy can help individuals with autism improve their language, social skills and other functional skills in a stress free setting. Recent studies also show that clients participating in music therapy reported less isolation periods and social withdrawal, a common difficulty among individuals with autism.
Pain and music are both forms of sensory input. The main aim of using music therapy to reduce pain is to work on the vibrations, and to merge the vibration of the music with that of the pain. The music diverts the patient's focus from all the physical symptoms. Many patients report reduction in pain levels after participation in music therapy.
Depression and Mental Health
Depression affects people of all ages across the lifespan. In these situations, music can help regulate the emotions and stress of individuals who suffer from this debilitating disease. Therapists often combine a multitude of techniques to increase the effectiveness of music for stress and depression.
Many children with motor coordination delays are referred to occupational and physical therapy to help address these delays. Often times, music therapy is an often overlooked treatment strategy that could also be effective. Studies have shown that completing movement patterns to a specified rhythm can dramtically improve the brain's ability to complete that movement in a more coordinated pattern after some repetition. Oftentimes, a music therapist will use rhythm and tempo during the therapy session to help a client accomplish a variety of goals that have nothing to do with music!
Although the popularity of music therapy continues to grow, a lot of studies conducted continue to establish the efficacy of music therapy in individuals with a variety of conditions. You can read more about music therapy and its effectiveness by visiting the American Music Therapy Association website, here.
Have questions about music therapy? Want to start receiving this beneficial treatment for you or someone you love? Please don't hesitate to contact us!