What is music therapy and how does it work?
What is music therapy and how does it work? Good question. Here’s a simple answer.
This is a somewhat difficult question to answer because music therapy can look very different based on who you’re helping. But for our purposes here, I will answer it based on our work here at Harmony Music Therapy, which focuses on serving those with special needs and mental health challenges.
Simply put, music therapy helps people strengthen relationships, lengthen attention span, work through difficult emotions, and even improve communication, speech and language—all with the help of music.
It works because music lights up the whole brain. Music Therapy is not just a right-brained creative approach like most of us have come to understand, but it is a whole brain scientific approach that promotes real change in the mind and body.
For example, because music lights up speech areas in the brain, it can help develop speech. Because it lights up areas responsible for focus in the brain, it can lengthen attention span. Because it accesses emotional areas in the brain, it can strengthen relationships, bring healing, and help express otherwise untouchable emotions.
And it doesn’t end there! Music also accesses areas responsible for motor coordination, sensory learning, unconscious (or automatic) responses, and impulse control, to name a few.
Music Therapists use this incredible power of music to everyone’s advantage. We help out patients not by simply listening to music, but by creating music. In fact, simply listening to music only happens a small percentage of the time in music therapy, because it can only go so far. Music Therapy is very interactive and creative; clients play, move, create, and really take part in their own recovery or development.
The client who is creating music can lengthen attention span. The client who creates music can express difficult emotions through sound and expression. And the client who sings may finally get the words out, even if they cannot speak.
It all happens by creating music!
So, to recap, music therapy is a creative process guided by a Music Therapist that benefits both mind and body in remarkable ways!
But don’t just take our word for it.