There’s something about music that finds a way to speak to just about everyone. Through the lyrics of the stories songwriters try to tell to the instruments used to push a specific feeling into the listener, there’s no doubting that there’s something for everyone when they are feeling a certain way. The power of music comes from its ability to connect to one’s soul. There have been many studies focused on how exactly music impacts the listener. Research has shown that listening to music can leave people with lasting positive impacts, such as a decrease in stress and an increase in one’s mood. With this data in mind, it’s not surprising to learn that if music can help people on a small scale, it can also do so on a larger scale.
Music therapy is the clinical use of music to aid in the needs of individuals with physical, mental, cognitive, and social setbacks. Guided by certified music therapists, patients work with them to transfer different skills relating to music such as creating, producing, singing, or dancing to songs, to ordinary life skills that the patient might be looking to improve upon. Although a broad description, there are many ways that music therapy can help someone improve their normal life.
Benefit #1: Music therapy can help with physical rehabilitation and pain relief.
Patients suffering from different levels of pain have used music therapy as a way to help them through everyday tasks while living with discomfort. It has been shown that music therapy can decrease one’s perception of pain, improve a patient’s control over it, and distract the patient from thinking about their pain.
Benefit #2: Music therapy can aid someone through speech recovery.
While the left side of the brain deals with speech, the right side of the brain deals with one’s ability to sing. Someone recovering from something like a traumatic brain injury that affects their ability to talk can use music therapy to be able to restore speech habits through singing. By singing their way through their thoughts first and then dropping the singing aspect, patients can then begin to speak normally again.
Benefit #3: Music therapy can assist those diagnosed with dementia.
Dementia is a group of conditions associated with the declination of one’s mental ability that causes an interference with everyday life and affecting things like their memory, speech, or focus. Since the ability to interact and focus on music stays intact longer than other things might in someone with dementia, music therapy can help patients bring up old memories, keep up their communication skills, and improve focus.
People who listen to music can often advocate for the fact that doing so helps them through their everyday life, whether it’s to improve their mood, finish a mundane task, or distract them from feeling nervous or anxious. Whether it is the words of a song or the instruments being played that connects to a person, music can affect us intentionally or unintentionally, positively or negatively.
Through the more clinical use of music in music therapy, it can help improve lives for the better. With small things such as daily tasks or feelings to more serious conditions such as physical and mental health, music is used by many people to heal both the body and the soul. If you or someone you know could benefit from music therapy, visit the American Music Therapy Association website at https://www.musictherapy.org to learn more.