Music Therapy Essay

2769 Words Jan 28th, 2013 12 Pages
Music Therapy: Is It The Cure To Mental & Physical Problems?
Music therapy is defined as the skillful use of music and musical elements by an accredited music therapist to promote, maintain, and restore mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Music has nonverbal, creative, structural, and emotional qualities. These are used in the therapeutic relationship to facilitate contact, interaction, self-awareness, learning, self-expression, communication, and personal development (Source: Canadian Association of Music Therapy).

In other words, music therapy is the use of music by a trained professional to achieve therapeutic goals. Goal areas include, but are not limited to, motor skills, social/interpersonal development, cognitive
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In essence, music produces a counter to the stress response, in that relaxation is promoted, and the body is returned to a healthier balance (Source: Watkins, G. Music Therapy: Proposed Physiological Mechanisms and Clinical Implications, 1997).

How Music Affects the Body

All music components of music - Tempo, pitch, volume, and rhythm - affect our body. Tempo is defined as the pace of the music. Tempos in the range of 60 - 70 beats per minute have been found to be most soothing, because they reflect the similar tempo of the heart. A pace faster than that causes tension, while a pace slower than that creates the feeling of suspense. The pitch or highness or lowness of a sound is determined by the frequency of sound waves and it acts on the autonomic nervous system. A high pitch causes tension, while a low pitch promotes relaxation. The volume, or intensity/loudness of the music, can cause pain if very high, yet can be soothing and relaxing if low. Rhythm helps the body to regain the order that it had previous to the stress caused by the medical illness or condition. Specifically, music assists in restoring the circadian rhythms of temperature and sleep, the ultradian rhythms of autonomic system regulation, metabolic processes, and cerebral dominance, and the rhythms of respiration, peristalsis, and heart rate. In addition, for infants born premature or ill, music helps to recreate the order of the fetal environment experienced in utero, and promotes a low
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