Music Therapy – The Connection to the Soul

Music Therapy is the practice of improving living clinically through the use of music and all its co-joining forces such as the physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual. The intent is to improve overall health. For many years, and even to a lesser extent today there was little to no confidence in the power of music and its connection to overall well-being. However, with the therapeutic results that have occurred using the tenets, it is truly an alternative that can be considered.

The practice of this therapy style is considered new (20th century) where in actuality it has been around for centuries. The study and practicality of using music as a respite for a tired soul first was identified in Europe. The link between music and the soul was first captured by Alpharabuis (872-950) when he talked at length about the correlation to music’s impact on the soul. Robert Burton (17th century) also made the connection between music and dance in the treatment of mental illnesses.

A recognized profession, the first undergraduate degree in Music Therapy was offered at Michigan State. And in 1998, two prominent psychology associations joined forces to become the American Music Therapy Association. The study of this alternative therapy style has continued to grow in both theory as well as patients. Today there are Master’s as well as PhD level course curriculum dedicated to this course of study.

So why Music? It is scientifically proven that music affects the brain. Heck, just look at yourself. The end of tough day you need something to relax to so you start to drive home and what do you do? You reach for the radio and find the type of music that suits the mood that you are trying to create for yourself. Music, in particular affects emotions and interactions. Music as a therapeutic tool is good for all ages. It is used in many clinical conditions including psychiatric, medical, stroke treatment and physical handicap.

Primarily, it strives to improve overall health. In addition to specific conditions it is also used very successfully to build self esteem, reduce stress and support physical exercise. It is used very extensively in children who need to learn how to stay calm, address aggression or find an outlet by which to express themselves. It is very closely linked at times to art therapy because it draws on the same creative energy that tends to connect with persons emotions and state of mind. Music Therapy is a great alternative treatment style and in widely used throughout the United States and abroad.

One last note, obviously to practice Music Therapy you must be proficient in an instrument or vocals. Your proficiency will then be tailored to a clinical tool that you can use with your patients.