Is Music Therapy a “Luxury”?
Many consider music therapy to be a “luxury”. A nice but unneccessary service, and they find other ways to get from point A to point B. But for so many, music therapy is the driving force for change.
When I think “luxury”, I think Lexus.
Lexus is a great brand of cars–they are high quality, reliable, and have lots of bells and whistles that make for a solid driving experience. It’s all well and good, and if you have a lot of money to spend, they can be a nice option.
But for me, the main things I look for in a vehicle is something economical and reliable that gets me from point A to point B. I don’t need luxury, and even if I did have money to burn, I’d probably spend it on something else (like a trip to Bora Bora!). But that’s just me.
So when it comes to luxury, the term usually implies adding value that makes the trip more enjoyable, but not necessarily more effective. And if you’re working within a budget, then you’ll be looking for the most economical and reliable option that gets you from Point A to Point B.
So where does music therapy fall in all of this?
If you’re like most parents or organizations, you might view music therapy as a “luxury”. You may see it as a bells and whistles service that does indeed add value, but because you’re working within a budget you elect to do what you have always done to get you to Point B, and don’t feel like there’s room to add something to your list that is simply like an upgrade to leather interior.
But while music therapy may appear to be luxurious because of its inherently high value, it’s actually what drives progress for many clients. It’s not just a fancy way to reach goals, but rather it’s often one of the most effective ways to get results. For many, it’s the vehicle itself.
It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity.
Perhaps you can compare it to driving a car that has a max speed of 50 mph to a vehicle that hits 100 mph. The question is, how quickly do you want to get to your destination? You’ll definitely get there with your slower car, but think of all you could do if you got there faster.
We see this accelerated progress often in music therapy. Students, children, or patients who were “stuck” often start music therapy and suddenly “take off” within the first 4-6 sessions. We start to see interest, progress, and really great results once they get into the groove of music therapy.
Of course rapid progress is not always the case as many clients face lifelong challenges and there is no quick fix or “magic pill”. But with music therapy the client is more often willing to actually get in the car and move, as opposed to hanging out on the side of the road where they are most comfortable. Cranking up the tunes in the car definitely makes the trip more enjoyable (and in our case, therapeutic!).
Consider the examples of the following individuals or instances where music therapy helped clients move from point A to point B.
In these cases, music therapy was not simply a luxury. It was a necessity. The driving force for change. The vehicle itself!
The question is, how much more efficient and enjoyable will your trip be with music therapy?