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Discussion of Importance of Music Therapy

Everyday, music serves us faithfully, playing an integral part of our public and
private lives. It is vastly used in arenas of national importance (e.g. National
anthems) and personal significance (e.g. wedding songs). In many normal
applications it supports or transcends spoken word. It therefore cannot be seen as
simply a vehicle for the emotions but also as a complex creation of the intellect.

Stravinsky wrote: ‘I know that twelve notes on each octave and varieties of
rhythm offer me opportunities that all of human genius will never exhaust.’ He was
making reference to the infinite musical possibilities that the basic ingredients,
rhythm and pitch, coupled with ingenuity and inspiration afford to him or any other
human. Music can now be appreciated as a diverse entity, just as man is a diverse
and complicated being. Music therapists can combine spiritual and emotional
aspects with structure and logic; they can link the artistic to the scientific and the
intuitive to the intellectual.

Positive manipulation of the inert human responsiveness to musical elements


is the major tool used by therapists. This response amazingly is present despite of
trauma to the organs including brain damage and coma. Psychologists have given
the term ‘baby song’ to the earliest attempts of a baby to ‘talk’ to its mother. It is
said to form the basis of language development however this early two-way
communication is more song than speech. This research reaffirms that music links
us to our basic need to communicate. Music therapy highlights this form of self-
expression.

What is therapy?. At this point the question may arise, ‘How does music
therapy differ from other fulfilling musical encounters such as the upliftment of
singing in a choir or the enjoyment of listening to recorded music, whose effects
have also been proven to be beneficial?’ Well, while these musical experiences are
therapeutic in their own right, some distinct features separate music therapy from
other forms of music encounters. The greatest of this is the therapist-client
relationship which ensues the regularity, confidentiality and mutual trust of
therapeutic sessions. This relationship is further developed through clinical
improvisation. Free-flowing exchanges allow the therapist to be the listener and the
supporter of the client, with the flexibility to move to new musical areas as the
therapy demands. Although pre-composed and recorded music can be used during
therapy, clinical improvisation provides the essential language of communication.
A suicidal teenager expresses her rage and despair through outbursts of
drumming, and is supported by the therapist with complimentary music. As trust
develops, the girl is able to allow other feelings of fear and insecurity to come out;
these too, can be expressed in the music.

Analysis and evaluation of the sessions through studying audio recordings


assist the musical doctor in making their diagnosis. And, as with psychotherapists,
music therapists go to fellow professionals for supervision and discussion. Feelings
conveyed in the therapy will benefit the patient’s everyday life and relationships.
Music Therapyi General. Music therapy is found in a wide sphere of places. From
medical and psychiatric hospitals to prisons and residential homes, this precious
form of therapy may be seen in operation. The range of instruments used is also
immense. The therapist may use his or her own instrument which may be a piano
or woodwind and a variety of percussion instruments are for use either by the
therapist or the client. These include delicate bells and shakers, gongs, drums,
cymbals, xylophones, lyre or guitar and are used as appropriate depending on the
client.

To become a music therapist one must first have musical training equivalent to
a degree or diploma from a university or music college. Entry requirements for
postgraduate training courses vary slightly but generally because of the demanding
nature of the work candidates need to have self-awareness, maturity of outlook
and a compassionate personality. After successful completion of the training, there
is a period of mandatory work under supervision before you are fully accepted into
the professional association. Music therapy is still a young profession and there
remains a long way to go before it becomes fully available to all who need it.
However The Association of Professional Music Therapists (APMT), based in
Britain, is forging to increase exposure of this alternative treatment and the global
acceptance of music therapy now seems inevitable.

Retrieved on 10.7.2010.

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