Musicotherapia (Music Therapy)

Music therapy is based on the interpersonal therapeutic relationship between a professional music therapist and the patient. The objectives and methods of treatment are personalized and tailored to the needs and characteristics of the patient. The idea that the effect of music can be therapeutic is definitely not new.

The primitive belief that disease was caused by higher magical or divine powers begot exorcism as a way to eliminate these harmful entities. These ceremonies would combine sounds, music, words, and gestures appropriate to individual circumstances.

The oldest evidence of medical practice, the Egyptian papyrus Kahun, refers to the use of an incantation which helped dramatically in curing diseases. Evidence regarding the use of music as a therapeutic means are included in many historical writings of ancient civilizations such as Egypt, China, India, Greece and Rome.

Much later, the Persian scientist, psychologist, and musicologist, Al Farabi (872-950 AD), in his treatise “Meanings of the Intellect” (Concepts of Intellectual Property), made reference to music therapy and the therapeutic effect of music on the human soul.

In the late 18th century, scientists began to investigate the effect of music on the human body. Their studies and experiments showed that music helps to regulate heart rate, respiratory function, blood circulation, as well as other positive health effects.

The introduction of music therapy in the health sector was initiated after the first and second World War, when professional and amateur musicians offered their services voluntarily, visiting hospitalized veterans, trying, with passive or active participation of soldiers, to alleviate physical and mental wounds left by war, and to relieve pain through the use of their music.
The remarkable effects of music on the wounded led medical staff to demand the hiring of musicians in hospitals. The need for prior musical training led to the foundation of the first Music Therapy class at the University of Michigan in 1944.

The music therapist’s primary goal is to evaluate the emotional, mental, and physical changes of the patient as a result of different sounds and musical stimuli. Then, he or she adjusts the therapy sessions to the specific needs of the patient. There is no specific genre of music that necessarily has greater therapeutic effect than another. The types of music or musical stimuli used by the therapist are determined by the healing process that the therapist and patient prefer and the particular circumstances of treatment.

The patient does not need any prior knowledge of music, either empirical or academic, to benefit from the treatment. The therapist may recommend that the patient passively listen to selected musical parts or sounds or actively participate in the treatment by urging him or her to compose music or lyrics in order to shape mental images in the sounds and music or analyze lyrics.

Music therapy assists in medical treatment and assists in the healing process of physical, emotional, and mental illnesses or disabilities, such as the ability to handle daily accumulated stress, developmental and learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss. It has also shown to help release and enhance emotional expression as well as improve interpersonal communication.

Music therapy benefits people of all ages, whether they be children, adults, or elderly.