Headphones On… GO!

“Life from the inside responding to music from the outside”

If you love the decade Michael Jackson was born in and are looking for another reason to add to that love, look no further! Music Therapy became credentialed in 1950, but honestly we’ve been using music as a means of healing for thousands of years. Like, literally. Pythagoras can be considered the founder of Music Therapy since he founded a school that allowed his students to release negative emotions by singing and playing musical instruments. Music is a human need. Every culture has it and it speaks to our fundamental desire to express ourselves and connect with other people.

When you’re listening to music, your brain lights up. Language, motor, behavioural, and social areas are all active when you engage with music. Using that discovery to officially treat physical and mental ailments was a solid move in the right direction. The point at which listening to music, singing, or playing an instrument becomes therapy is when interacting with the individual. Asking the patient what they like about a song shifts the whole process to one of understanding what that music means to them and understanding themselves.

Looking at the aspect of physical healing, and not just emotional, music therapists have helped children with developmental disorders use speech for the first time. They’ve helped people with trauma express through sound what they can’t even begin to express through words. There’s even a branch of Music Therapy specifically involving rhythm that helps people with Parkinson’s Disease improve their motor skills, even being able to cue the movement themselves by singing and creating the rhythm independently.

I found this TED Talk by Dr Deforia Lane which shows some really great examples of how Music Therapy can be used. She mentions how the lyrics of a song can speak to us and allow us to hear the message differently. I, for one, find that to be completely true.

So find the music that tickles your soul and use it. Use it to feel better.

Mood-Altering Non-Substance

“What an eager assembly! what an empire is this!
The weary have life, and the hungry have bliss;
The mourner is cheered, and the anxious have rest;
And the guilt-burthened soul is no longer opprest.”

Here are some little fact sheets I found on Tumblr a few days ago. I think they can fill in some knowledge gaps about Music Therapy, and help increase understanding of how it makes people feel better.

How music affects the brain:

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And a little bit about the practice itself:

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An Ironic Slap in the Face

“Nothing kills man faster than his own head.”

In retrospect, taking a course in communications while struggling with social anxiety probably wasn’t the best idea, but in my defence, I only found out I had S.A.D a year into the whole thing. It was also the only course that matched my interests well so ain’t that just the most ironic slap in the face… Anyway, after the realisation and a really horrible summer, came a few months of Behavioural Cognitive Therapy which helped me cope with social anxiety’s trademark affliction of persistent antagonistic thoughts. Fun.

So I chose to use this blog as a means of discussing and exploring Music Therapy. Why? Because my therapist made me realise that music is what never ever fails to calm me down in any situation. I can totally get on the whole ‘healing power of music’ bandwagon. I only found out recently that Music Therapy is a legit thing and that there are board certified music therapists running around out there.

After a few hours on Google, my basic understanding of Music Therapy is that it’s an expressive kind of therapy where patients can be treated through singing, playing, listening to, discussing and moving to music. I’m focusing on the listening aspect of it all because that’s my greatest understanding of it and there is nothing quite like relating to the lyrics of a song. So to finish off this first post, here is a relatable song for my anxiety: