This research study was inspired by those who suffer mental illnesses and by those who claim to have been helped by music therapy or music alone. This research aims to help, to prove, to raise awareness, to share knowledge and to give answers to the questions, “Is music therapy really effective? And if so, is it more effective than other methods? “. The problem is that a lot of people today are struggling with their own mental or emotional distress and psychological treatment is not affordable for everyone. Even if music therapy costs as expensive as other medical therapy, research shows that music that can be heard any time in our daily lives can help regulate our emotions or calm our anxiety. Roots of music therapy brings us back to the 1800s where musician from all over the countries have played for those who experienced physical and mental trauma from the events of the World War I and II. The patients’ remarkable responses to music led professionals into considering music therapy as an acceptable medium to mental and emotional balance.
In the early 1800s, there are two medical dissertations focusing on the therapeutic essence of music, one written by Edwin Augustus Atlee (1804) and the other by Samuel Mathews (1806). They were both students of a physician and psychiatrist who was a strong advocate in using music in order to treat mental illnesses, Dr. Benjamin Rush. As time passes by, associations were formed due to the growing recognition towards music therapy— these associations are National Society of Musical Therapeutics founded by Eva Augusta Vescelius (1903), National Association for Music in Hospitals founded by Isa Maud Ilsen (1926) and National Foundation of Music Therapy founded by Harriet Ayer Seymour (1941), but despite being the first contributors of books, journals and information on music therapy, these associations weren’t able to develop an organized medical profession.
Around 1940s, three innovators emerged for developing music therapy as an organized clinical profession— Ira Altshuler, MD who is a psychiatrist and music therapist promoted music therapy in The State of Michigan for 30 years, Willem van de Wall instigated the use of music therapy in public facilities and wrote “Music in Institutions (1936)” introducing music therapy to its readers and E. Thayer Gaston, who was significant in shaping the profession in terms of an organizational and educational stance, was named as the ‘Father of Music Therapy’— and the first college training activities for music therapy were also created. The first educational program was established during 1944 by the Michigan State University. In 1983, the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) was incorporated in order to strengthen the reliability of music therapy by assuring the capability of credentialed music therapists.
Lastly in 1998, American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) was launched to unite the profession, to aid public knowledge and to promote music therapy services. Currently, AMTA is the single largest association focused on music therapy in the United States of America, representing every music therapist, patients that has been helped by this medical practice and supporters worldwide.
Now, music therapy is a medical profession with the use of musical intervention to ameliorate the patient’s lifestyle. The main purpose of this research is to enlighten the people who are currently suffering from mental issues, their support-system such as families and friends, the professionals associated with mental health improvement like psychologists and psychiatrists and those who are in the move to help, and to raise mental health awareness.