There is little doubt of the power of music to move you, both on the dance floor and as cliché as it sounds, in your heart. But as we are about to see, it is far more intrinsically linked to the psyche as you’d imagine, and can be the most powerful healing tool, surpassing so many modern western medicines.
I want to start this blog with a video, of Bobby McFerrin at the World Science Festival, getting into the minds of the audience, and showing that everyone is inherently musical whether they think themselves to be or not.
So it’s clear that music plays a big part in our neuro-psychological make up (that’s a technical term, of course…) but what are some of the things it can be used for in the world of healing?
A lot of what Music Therapy is used for is to work with people with disabilities both physical and mental, but it doesn’t just end there. It is used for kids with social problems, as an engagement tool. Getting people to sing and play music together encourages bonding and trust, as well as promotes confidence and psychological health. But the most amazing things that come out of it is when you can see the positive effects it has on people’s lives who may be struggling with a disability.
Maybe one of the more known aspects of Music as Therapy is the treatment of Parkinson’s, which affects your motor neurons and makes it difficult to move. One Music Therapist described the syndrome as when patients loose some of their internal rhythm, and as the body synchronises movement rhythmically this causes them to loose the ability to control their movement.
By playing gentle, and rhythmically simple and steady music, patients are able to regain some of their motor control, and can happily play along on a drum, or tap out a rhythm on their laps. Singing along to a song if they know the words amplifies this effect. That’s amazing!
Another amazing use of Music Therapy is to bring life and mental capacity back to Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients, this powerful video shows how just a few minutes of listening to your favourite tunes perks up the mind in ways that nothing else can. Powerful words at the end by Dementia patient Henry:
And if that wasn’t encouraging enough, it can also be used with Stroke sufferers to regain elements of speech!
Music is a powerful thing, don’t go underestimating the effect of a good tune or two, it could save your life one day!