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Why Music Therapy Needs More Awareness

Introduction

What is music therapy?

Music therapy is a clinical and evidence-based form of treatment used by a certified professional in order to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. As quoted from Goodtherapy.org, music therapy is “a type of expressive arts therapy that uses music to improve and maintain the physical, psychological, and social well-being of individuals”. A music therapist requires at least a bachelor’s degree in music therapy and MT-BC credential. Music therapists must have knowledge in psychology, medicine, and music.

Examples of music therapy

  • A music therapist may use song cues with a child who has autism in order to increase communication capabilities.
  • A music therapist may use the lyrics of a song in order to facilitate a positive discussion with psychiatric patients.
  • A music therapist may use a beat to follow for a patient whose walking has been affected by a stroke, which the brain will entrain to and eventually cause each step to match the beat.
  • A music therapist may use the lyrics or melody of a song to repair memory in a patient with Alzheimer’s, and teach them how to express needs through song.

Why music therapy?


As the nation is starting to want to use less medicine, music therapy is the perfect rising treatment to not just treat symptoms, but treat the whole self. People are starting to recognize the significant connection between emotional and physical health, and music therapy puts all its focus on that connection. Music therapy can be used on a variety of different cases ranging in the biological, cognitive, and sociocultural perspective, but the goals are never musical. Music therapy is used to make patients feel better, relieve symptoms, and reach a goal.

Strangely, there is lack of music therapy awareness. People use music everyday in order to express and change their emotions. Examples include listening to upbeat music for motivation to run a little further in a workout, or listening to a sad song during a breakup in order to express feelings. Music is an extremely powerful tool, considering its various elements (beat, melody, etc) as well as it being one of the only things where multiple areas of the brain are needed to process.

Music therapy is a profession that the Western world has not taken into common consideration when it comes to mental health treatment. There is a lack of music therapists in the U.S. because not many people recognize it as a profession. People do not commonly know what music therapists do and therefore do not have high respect for music therapy. General healthcare sees music therapy as helpful, but not necessary. I disagree. I believe because music is meaningful, so is music therapy. By making music therapy a more common term institutionally, many patients who haven’t found their perfect treatment yet may find the one.

Quotes on Music Therapy

(musictherapy.org)

“Music therapy helps speech, but also motor skills, memory and balance. Also emotionally uplifting.” – Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Twitter, May 2011

“When we look at the body of evidence that the arts contribute to our society, it’s absolutely astounding. Music Therapists are breaking down the walls of silence and affliction of autism, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.” – Michael Greene, Grammy Awards, 1997

‘”Before I had surgery, they told me I could never walk again. But when I sat and listened to music, I forgot all about the pain,” said [Ida] Goldman, who walked with assistance during the hearing.’ – Ida Goldman, Senate Hearings, Aug 1 1991

Poll

Ways you can spread awareness

Anyone can spread awareness for music therapy. You can start by sharing this presentation with anyone who may have any interest in music or medicine/psychology. If you know someone who is staying at a hospital, you could ask them if they have consulted the hospital’s music therapist in order to relieve their pain. If you know someone who is struggling with mental health and has not found the treatment right for them, you could recommend that they reach out to a music therapist. If you or someone you know has interests in medicine, music, and/or psychology, you could recommend music therapy as a potential profession.

Explore More

A very informative TEDx talk by Erin Seibert, who sparked my inspiration to further research music therapy.

Works Cited

“Definition and Quotes about Music Therapy.” American Music Therapy Association, www.musictherapy.org/about/quotes/.

Landau, Elizabeth. “When patients have ‘music emergencies.'” CNN, 23 Aug. 2013, www.cnn.com/2013/08/23/health/music-therapy/index.html.

“Music Therapy.” Good Therapy, 22 Dec. 2015, www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/music-therapy.

“Music Therapy.” Music Institute of Chicago, www.musicinst.org/music-therapy.

Peterson Family Foundation Music Therapy Program. UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, University of California San Francisco, www.ucsfbenioffchildrens.org/services/music_program/.

“UCSF Our Stories: Healing the Soul with Music Therapist Oliver Jacobson.” YouTube, uploaded by UCSFMedical Center, 15 Apr. 2014, youtu.be/js44smmzC6s.

“Why I Want to Change the World with Music Therapy | Erin Seibert | TEDxUSFSP.” YouTube, uploaded by Tedx Talks, 11 Jan. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=47-90fPyQa8.


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COMMENTS: 13
  1. April 25, 2019 by Heather .Hersey

    Hi Taylor, thank you for opening our eyes to the potential of music therapy. How do you think you can change people’s views on music therapy?

    • April 29, 2019 by Taylor.Hurt

      Hi Ms. Hersey, I think I can change people’s views on music therapy by shining light on the uses of it in a professional setting and hopefully painting a picture these people didn’t see before.

  2. April 26, 2019 by Addie Anderson

    As someone who loves music, I think this is a super awesome topic and didn’t really know much about music therapy before!

    • April 29, 2019 by Taylor.Hurt

      Thank you Addie! I’m glad you enjoyed my presentation:).

  3. April 27, 2019 by Vivian.Fong

    Taylor, this is so interesting! I love music, and music therapy and am actually consider going into this field in the future. I actually did a similar project on this topic in my AP psych class! It is such a creative way of therapy and I agree that it should be more widespread. Why do you think general healthcare sees music therapy as not necessary? Is it just because of a lack of awareness or do you think people may see it as a waste of time?

    • April 29, 2019 by Taylor.Hurt

      Hi Vivian, that’s so awesome that you are going into music therapy! I think general healthcare sees music therapy as not necessary because of lack of awareness. People observing music therapy never wait to see the long-term benefits of it, and in media it is often portrayed as just playing music in a nursing home, for example.

  4. April 27, 2019 by Rachel.Dulski

    Taylor, your presentation is very interesting especially since I had no idea how much of an impact music has on mental health. How could we spread awareness towards the positive impact music has on mental health? Can its benefits be accessible to everyone?

    • April 29, 2019 by Taylor.Hurt

      Hi Rachel, thank you so much! I think that anyone can spread awareness towards music therapy and its positive impact in conversation or even by sharing this presentation. Currently its benefits are not accessible to everyone as there are a lack of music therapists and institutions willing to include music therapy in their budget, but I think accessibility will increase as awareness increases.

  5. April 28, 2019 by Olivia Hebert

    Taylor. I really enjoyed reading about music therapy and believe your suggestions on spreading awareness will be effective! I think you did a great job on your poll because it shows how music directly relates to emotions and expression.

    • April 29, 2019 by Taylor.Hurt

      Thank you so much Olivia! I’m happy you enjoyed my presentation!

  6. April 30, 2019 by Lina.Chen

    Hi Taylor. I love this presentation and it really gave me another aspect as to what music can do!

    • April 30, 2019 by Taylor.Hurt

      I’m happy you liked it Lina! Thank you for reading:)

  7. May 03, 2019 by Mia Crum

    Hey Taylor! Before your presentation I had very limited knowledge of what exactly music therapy was, and after I totally agree with you that it needs to be talked about more. Almost everyone likes music, but not a lot of people know how healing it can be. Is there scientific evidence that music therapy helps? How can we prove that this is as awesome as it sounds?

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