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Music Therapy Chapter 21 “Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens.” -Maria Von Trapp An Historical Perspective of Music Therapy Music as a form of healing is ageless

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music therapy

Music Therapy

Chapter 21

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“Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens.”

-Maria Von Trapp

an historical perspective of music therapy
An Historical Perspective of Music Therapy
  • Music as a form of healing is ageless
  • From tribal drumming to medieval court minstrels, every culture has used music for relaxation and healing.
  • The expression, “music soothes the savage beast” is renowned the world over as a simple truth
  • The National Music Therapy Association was founded in 1950
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Music Therapy
  • Music therapy is defined as
    • “the systematic application of music by the music therapist to bring about helpful changes in the emotional or physical health of the client.”
    • And the “ability to experience an altered state of physical arousal and subsequent mood by processing a progression of musical notes of varying tone, rhythm, and instrumentation for a pleasing effect.”
from sound to noise to music
From Sound to Noise to Music
  • Sound is measured in Hertz (Hz)
  • Hz measures the vibrations/second
  • Sounds are recorded in decibels (dB)
  • dB = the air pressure detected by the human ear
the dynamics of music
The Dynamics of Music*

Tone Pitch

Intensity Timbre

Harmony Interval

Rhythm Perceptual Quality

*All these factors are involved in music’s

ability to promote relaxation

music as a relaxation technique
Music as a Relaxation Technique

Theories of Music Therapy:

  • Biochemical Theory
  • Entrainment Theory
  • Metaphysical Theory
music as a relaxation technique8
Music as a Relaxation Technique
  • The Biochemical Theory states that music is a sensory stimulus that is processed through the sense of hearing. Sound vibrations are chemically changed into nervous impulses that activate either the sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system.
music as a relaxation technique9
Music as a Relaxation Technique
  • The Entrainment Theory, based on a law of physics, suggests that oscillations produced by music are received by the human energy field and the various physiological systems and organs entrain with or resonate with the given Hz (oscillation) of the music.
music as a relaxation technique10
Music as a Relaxation Technique
  • The Metaphysical Theory suggests that music and song have a transcending quality that provides a direct communication with the divine.
  • Music is divine in nature
  • Many musicians say that when they compose, they are eavesdropping on the thoughts of God (e.g., Mozart, Beethoven, Paul McCartney).
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Music Therapy
  • For music therapy to be fully effective as a relaxation technique, it is best that the music be instrumental (without lyrics).
  • Type of music selected, listening environment, posture, and attitude also affect the quality of the relaxation response.
physiological effects of relaxing music
Physiological Effects of Relaxing Music
  • Decreases resting heart rate
  • Decreases resting blood pressure
  • Decreases muscle tension
  • Decreases other metabolic parameters associated with the stress response
psychological effects of music
Psychological Effects of Music
  • Music has a profound ability to effect one’s mood whether it’s a lullaby or a rock concert
music therapy chronic pain
Music Therapy & Chronic Pain
  • Two Theories:
    • Music serves as a pleasant distraction from pain
    • Healing vibrations entrain a healing effect to reduce pain
      • 7.8 Hz is thought to be the vibration of homeostasis
      • Dolphins and whales “sing” at 7.8 Hz
steps to initiate music therapy
Steps to Initiate Music Therapy
  • Make a good musical selection
  • Create a good listening environment
  • Create your own mix of relaxing songs
    • Select songs without words/lyrics that could engage left brain to run amok with emotions.
best application of music therapy
Best Application of Music Therapy
  • Listening to instrumental music can be a form of meditation
  • It should be done without distractions (e.g., cell phones, TV, etc.)
  • Playing an instrument also qualifies as music therapy
  • Singing also qualifies as music therapy (so does whistling!)