Music Therapy

Youth Sections
"The Dynamos of progress (Eternal Life)"

Music Therapy

Shreya Qazi

It gives me immense pleasure to pen down a few words about music therapy and what it is all about. I know people back home in India don’t know much about this field so my intention is to spread a word about how music therapy works on individuals regardless of culture or caste. Music works on everyone and everywhere.

“Music Therapy is an established healthcare profession that uses music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals of all ages.”
-American Music Therapy Association

"Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a qualified professional who has completed an approved music therapy program”.

Music Therapy is considered one of the expressive therapies. It is used with individuals of all ages and with different conditions, including psychiatric disorders, medical problems, physical handicaps, sensory impairments, developmental disabilities, substance abuse, communication disorders, interpersonal problems, and aging. It is also used to improve learning, build self-esteem, reduce stress, support physical exercise, and facilitate a host of other health-related activities. Music therapists work in general hospitals, psychiatric facilities, schools, prisons, community centers, training institutes, private practices, and universities. To be a good music therapist one should have passion for life, passion for individuals and passion for music.

What makes music therapy different from every other form of therapy is its reliance on music. Thus, every session involves the client in a musical experience of some form. The main ones are improvising, re-creating, composing, and listening to music.

In the sessions that involve improvising, the client makes up his or her own music extemporaneously, singing or playing whatever arises in the moment. The client may improvise freely, responding spontaneously to the sounds as they emerge, or the client may improvise according to the specific musical directions given by the therapist.

In sessions involving re-creating music, the client sings or plays pre-composed music. This kind of music experience may include: learning how to produce vocal or instrumental sounds, imitating musical phrases, learning to sing by rote, using musical notation, participating in sing-along, practicing, taking music lessons, performing a piece from memory, working out the musical interpretation of a composition, participating in a musical show or drama, and so forth.

The therapist helps the client to write songs, lyrics, or instrumental pieces, or to create any kind of musical product, such as music videos or audiotape programs in sessions, which basically involves composing. Usually the therapist simplifies the process by engaging the client in easier aspects of the task (e.g., generating a melody, or writing the lyrics of a song), and by taking responsibility for more technical aspects (e.g., harmonization, notation).

And last but not the least, in sessions involving listening, the client takes in and reacts to live or recorded music. The listening experience may focus on physical, emotional, intellectual, aesthetic, or spiritual aspects of the music, and the client may respond through activities such as: relaxation or meditation, structured or free movement, perceptual tasks, free-association, story-telling, imaging, reminiscing, drawing, and so forth.

In addition to these musical types of experiences, music therapists often engage clients in verbal discussions. Clients may be encouraged to talk about the music, their reactions to it, or any thoughts, images, or feelings that were evoked during the experience. Clients may also be encouraged to express themselves through the other arts, such as drawing, painting, dance, drama or poetry. Music therapy sessions for children often include various games or play activities, which involve music.

Music therapy sessions are designed with several factors in mind. First and foremost, the therapist has to select the types of music experience to be used according to the goals of therapy and the needs of the client. Each of the music experiences described above requires something different from the client, and has a potentially different effect.

Music is a therapeutic and enjoyable activity in its own right.
The author of this article, Shreya Qazi, has been doing incredible work in Music Therapy, for past four years. Shreya has been associated with music for last nine years now. After completing her Master's in Music, she joined Michigan State for Master's in Music Therapy and has been working for good causes since then.

Being an only Kashimiri Pandit girl in this field makes her feel proud and enjoys the challenges she faces all the time dealing with people of different backgrounds and their music. As a Kashmiri girl it took a lot of efforts to work in the field of music therapy as it is a very unconventional career field and is amazed to see how people are being open to the new fields now.

Copyrights © 2007 Shehjar online and . Any content, including but not limited to text, software, music, sound, photographs, video, graphics or other material contained may not be modified, copied, reproduced, republished, uploaded, posted, or distributed in any form or context without written permission. Terms & Conditions.