The term ‘music therapy’ may sound odd, simply because music is usually associated with entertainment.
So for music to be termed as therapeutic or as having medicinal value of some sort simply seems distinctly odd!
But music therapy is a systematic and organized therapy and there are training courses to this end. You may have noticed how music can be useful to relieve stress or to put you in a better frame of mind, taking your mind off your problems; certainly it does that for many.
Music therapy can do that and much more apparently: it promotes wellness, eases pain, helps in expression of feelings, enhances memory, helps improve communication skills and also helps in healing or physical rehabilitation. It can also, like the picture indicates, help relieve stress in newborns and help them stay healthy.
Now in case of music therapy what is one man’s meat may well be another man’s poison. By that we mean that while one person finds sound of a gurgling stream wonderful and stress relieving, another may actually find it stressful because I would keep thinking “Water’s being wasted somewhere, how do I stop that!”
There would also be cultural connotations to music. For instance while a Chinese person may find Chinese music wonderful and uplifting, someone else, who has no knowledge or familiarity with Chinese music would have a fairly indifferent reaction to it thereby negating any therapeutic value of the music.
It is therefore that music therapy is highly individual oriented. It can include activities such as singing, listening, playing instruments, composition, moving to music, and music and imagery exercises.
So, music therapy is developed on the basis of the subjects’ individual weaknesses and strengths, keeping in mind the effect that the music will have on that particular individual.
Music therapy also has general applications; like music is said to relieve pain during dental procedures so a lot of dentists play music. Often certain work environments have music playing because it is seen to reduce stress while working and in cases has also been seen to increase productivity.
Music frequently accompanies meditation and yoga and it always accompanies aerobic and other exercises because it motivates you in your goal of mental and physical fitness.
One can use music to relieve stress or when you need stimulation etc. Perhaps music therapy is not quite as odd as one originally thought!