Music is an art form that is used for its healing and relaxation properties globally. The therapy in the form of therapy is being practised and taught in many institutes to spread awareness regarding music’s cognitive benefits. Many of the patients suffering from severe diseases can be cured with the help of music therapy. Music therapy is a kind of art therapy used to treat psychological, physical ailments in humans. It can be used in various forms like playing a musical instrument, singing, etc. You will come to know about the history of music therapy in detail below.

History Of Music Therapy

Music therapy began to be pursued as a profession after World War 2 when musicians were hired in veterans’ hospitals to play musical instruments for the patients and relieve post-war emotional and physical traumas. During that time, a realization dawned that musicians require proper training. The father of music therapy ‘E. Thayer Gaston’ is acknowledged with establishing music therapy as a subject during the 1940s. Michigan State University became the first university for starting music therapy as a course in 1944.

Many other organizations got inspired by the same, and one of them was the American Music Therapy Association, which was formed in 1998. This organization’s main mission is to widen the reach of music therapy globally and provide high-quality music therapy benefits at the same time.

Types Of Music Therapy

You will understand the classification and types of music therapy in detail further below. The steps involved in understanding types of music therapy are

  1. Music therapy is broadly classified into two categories that are active and receptive music therapy.
  2. Active music therapy includes engaging patients in various forms of music-making activities like singing or playing musical instruments. Therapists can make clients play simple musical instruments like a harmonica to treat diseases like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
  3. Receptive music therapy involves the patients been treated by listening to music selected by their therapists for relaxation purposes.
  4. Neurologic Music Therapy can help patients dealing with a disease like Parkinson’s. It is a type of music therapy wherein the motor skills in a patient is improved by listening to music, and changes in their brain are noticed both with and without music.
  5. One of the amazing music therapy techniques is the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music. It is described in detail by the steps below, which are
  • The clients explain their medical issues to the therapist or the guide, and an “intention” or a purpose is set for the session.
  • If clients are new, then the guide tries to understand the client’s history.
  • The clients are, after that, made to sit in a comfortable position and are prepared to “travel” and enter a non-ordinary state of consciousness, which is a mental state similar to when we meditate, hallucinate, etc.
  • After that, a pre-recorded music started by the guide according to the purpose or an intention set before.
  • During this process, the clients share the images they visualize with the guide, which can be involved in lucid dreaming, senses, etc.
  • The verbal support is offered by the guide during the client’s travel journey by keeping notes of their visualized images.
  • At the end of this journey, the client can be asked to draw figures like mandalas to understand the experience they had while relaxing. They can be asked for music-making to relate with the purpose or an intention the client explained before the guide.

Psychological Benefits Of Music

Music, besides being used for music therapy, has many psychological benefits. It is suggested to listen to different genres of music tracks while working to boost your productivity. A few of the psychological benefits of listening to music are

  • Stress reduction- Music can help in reducing stress to a great extent. According to a case study in 2013, the three groups of people were decided before introducing them to a stressor. The first group was introduced to relaxing music, the second one to the ripples’ sound, and the third to no music. Thereafter, the stressor was introduced. The first two groups that listened to music recovered quickly from the stressor compared to the third group.
  • Improvements in memory- According to a research study, those who listen to music while studying have shown an improvement in their exams. The ones who are musically naïve were made to listen to music involving positive emotions, and the ones who is musically trained listened to neutral music. Both groups of listeners showed improvement in their information retaining abilities after listening to music. If you are deciding to learn a new language, then it is suggested to pronounce those words and related phrases in a musical note than in plain words to retain that new language easily and for a longer period.
  • It can help you consume less food- Music can be used in your weight-loss program too. People who listen to soft music while in low light are said to consume food at a slower pace and thus feel full after consuming little food itself.
  • Music can help you gain motivation- When you listen to fast music, you are motivated to work out at a fast rate and harder than without listening to music. According to a study, few cyclists were listened to music by increasing its volume at different intervals. During this study, it was observed that cyclists’ performance increased with the increase in the music’s pace.
  • Symptoms of depression can be reduced- The music variety that includes meditative and classical style can lower the risk of depression in patients and alleviate their mood. Other neurological conditions like dementia, Parkinson’s can also be treated by listening to music.
  • Treatment of insomnia- Those who listen to music before sleeping is said to have a better sleep that is deep compared to those who sleep by listening to audiobooks or no audio notes.

Thus, music therapy can prove beneficial for people suffering from various types of psychological problems.