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A Look Into Music Therapy

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A Look Into Music Therapy By Jabari Banfield Music has charms to sooth a savage beast, To soften rocks or bend a knotted oak. (Congrave) There are many 'alternative' (or more accurately put, complimentary) methods of therapy being used by man in order to bring about relief, release, healing, maintenance and upliftment. One of the most dominant yet overlooked aspects to alternative treatment is Music Therapy. The power of music to bring about change and healing has been known throughout history and literature. One of the earliest known examples of its use in this way is in the Bible in the book of Samuel; '... whenever the evil spirit was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it; so Saul was refreshed and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.' Centuries later, professional music therapists are now trying to tap into this almost mystical influence of music to achieve similar goals in the lives of their patients. From the young autistic or disabled child to the adult with schizophrenia or Alzheimer's disease, music therapy is being instrumental in the alleviation of these dreadful problems. ...read more.


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. ...read more.


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. Music alone with sudden charms can bind The wand'ring sense, and calm the troubled mind. (Congreve) January 29th, 2003 ...read more.

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