What is Music Therapy?
Whatever our culture, wherever we were born, music is a universal language that has the power to release and transmit emotions. It is felt and acquired just as spontaneously as one learns to speak. Music takes us into the depths of emotion and a person’s handicap, whatever its form, is of no importance: Beethoven, deaf at the age of 28 years, Ray Charles blind from birth or Petrucciani who suffered from a severe form of the Glass bone disease proves to us every day that disability is not an end in itself.
What is behind these rhythms and melodies, would music have physical and psychological benefits?
Healing Through Music Therapy
For several years, music has been part of a therapeutic approach: this is what is called music therapy. A form of unconscious psychoanalysis that is not new. Indeed, from ancient times, the Greeks considered music as a major teaching (as well as mathematics) and used the term of ‘music therapist’ to identify people capable of influencing mood or moods through song and music. It will nevertheless be necessary to wait for the umpteenth century so that the music finds its letters (or notes) of nobility and is placed at the centre of all the attentions integrating the orchestra of soft medicine. It is used today in the treatment of chronic, mental or physical illnesses or in addition to other medicines.
Benefits of Music Therapy
Whether soft or rhythmic, music therapy includes many benefits (non-exhaustive list):
- promotes relaxation and reduces anxiety;
- stimulates the expression of emotions and acts on morale;
- develops creativity and self-esteem;
- stimulates social interactions;
- develops concentration, attention and stimulates thinking and organizing skills;
- improves movement coordination, promotes motor and speech rehabilitation;
The Two Forms of Music Therapy
Receptive Music Therapy
Receptive music therapy is based on listening to sounds and musical extracts. It calls upon the psycho-affective and psycho-physiological elements of the patient. These will make it possible to assess the patient’s emotivity, their sensitivity and subsequently help them open up.
Active Music Therapy
Active music therapy, for its part, transforms the patient into a conductor and calls upon their imagination and creativity. It is up to them to produce sounds with their mouth or a musical instrument. This is an effective means of expression for people who have cut off all means of communication, whether in the most minor cases, disorders linked to extreme shyness, a lack of self-confidence in disorders of the autism spectrum (ASD) and polyhandicap.
Whatever the sufferings or the needs, music has this little magic something which breaks the vocal barriers. It frees us from a weight, from suffering to put words on these songs of everyday life that upset us or brighten up our days and our nights. And if you had to remember a sentence from this melody, know that music therapy is for everyone, handicap or not, chronically ill or not. Music puts words on our ills and unconsciously it upsets us, motivates us, boosts us whatever our age and whatever our status.