Music Therapy As An Effective Treatment To Support Hong Kong Pupils

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You may be a little bit confused when having a glimpse of this topic, I guess most Hong Kong citizens do the same. Generally speaking, music therapy is not a hot topic in Hong Kong, but music actually is a good medium to assist patients. This treatment involves three types: music programs, passive and active music therapy. (Gold et al., 2011). I believe that music therapy should be introduced in Hong Kong mainstream schools as a new methodology to improve the health conditions of pupils. In the following paragraphs, I will present the reasons behind in both specific and general aspects: they are offering help to SEN students, enhancing the mental health level of Hong Kong pupils, and is more effective than the existing mental health supports in mainstream schools.

To start with, music therapy is able to aid students with special educational needs (SEN students), especially students with Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), which is worth implementing to Hong Kong mainstream schools. The illnesses of students with Autism and SPD are quite similar, and students with SPD are very likely to have Autism. They have relatively weaker social skills when interacting with others, they are shy and may not speak much to others they are unfamiliar with. The feature of music therapy is that music and the sensory system are both linked to people’s nervous systems (Simhon, Elefant & Orkibi, 2019). Creating and listening to music stimulate patients’ multisensory networks and sensory systems (Sharma, Gonda & Tarazi, 2018). Music has positive influence on Autism and SFD patients. According to The Cochrane Collaboration, this organization has revised its review in 2006 on music and Autism, which has shown evidence that music therapy may help Autism students to improve social interaction and communication skills, etc., which enable them to communicate with others in the society better (Sharma, Gonda & Tarazi, 2018). Besides, music therapy can also improve the communication and social skills of students with SPD (Esteves et al, 2009). These results have shown that music therapy assists students with Autism and SPD to perform better socially. Talking more specifically, I will talk about two specific types of music therapies. One is music-based speech therapy, as they have hindrances in communication, this therapy can help them to supersede this defect and may prompt them to speak more with others (Schlaug et al, 2009). Another kind of music therapy is wind instrument, which has shown that wind instrument can help reducing fright and anxiety of Autism students (Hoelzley, 1991). In addition, nowadays, there are an amount of SEN students studying in mainstream schools in Hong Kong, this may due to their parents’ objections, or shortage of special schools. However, mainstream schools may not have enough resources to help these students who require special educational needs, and the corresponding oppressive environment in mainstream schools setting may exacerbate the health conditions of these students. So, music therapy will be an alternative choice to help SEN students, and can improve their conditions as well.

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Besides, music therapy can enhance the mental health level of Hong Kong’s children and adolescents, which should be introduced in Hong Kong mainstream schools. Nowadays, the psychological status of Hong Kong students worried people a lot. Children and teenagers having internalizing disorders like anxiety and depression are commonplace in Hong Kong, the environment in Hong Kong makes students feel extremely stressful and oppressive, this can be proved by studies. According to a cross-cultural study, the anxiety scores of Hong Kong students were significantly higher than that of adolescents in Germany (Yuen, Liu & Tse, 2019). The most important affecting factor is academic stress, the comprehensive study environment in Hong Kong is very oppressive, achieving academic success and possess a bachelor’s degree is equivalent to ‘winners’ in Hong Kong culture. Take HKDSE as an example, most secondary six students have to attend HKDSE this public examination in Hong Kong, they have lots of pressure, they may set the goals that they want to achieve for themselves, meanwhile, they may have to fulfill their parents’ expectations, which has shown anxiety symptoms on secondary six students (Yuen, Liu & Tse, 2019). Having unsatisfied mental status can lead to severe issues. Take the student suicides cases as an example, there are 36 student suicides cases in 2016, while in the past 10 decades, the average annual student suicides numbers per year are 20 cases, we can see that the data in 2016 has increased sharply (Yuen, Liu & Tse, 2019). Also, a recent survey conducted among primary school students by a local nongovernmental organization found that 9.7% of the interviewees had two of the main symptoms of depressive disorder (Yuen, Liu & Tse, 2019). The situation is alerting Hong Kong government to take actions to deal with the problem. Music therapy may be a good consideration, according to the study, music-based interventions might be advantageous in assisting youth with internalizing symptoms, music is a good medium to help students relaxed, get rid of studying for a while, enable them feel less anxious and less tensed, not pushing themselves so harsh, which may have side effects. According to the study, music therapy is an effective intervention, youths who receive this treatment has recorded in a reduction of internalizing symptoms (Geipel, Koenig, Hillecke, Resch and Kaess, 2018). This shows that music therapy is an effective way to students in Hong Kong.

Some people may argue that music therapy should not be promoted to Hong Kong mainstream schools, because it is not a very well-established profession, it is more like the complement of other treatments, like psychological therapy. (Geipel, Koenig, Hillecke, Resch & Kaess, 2018). Besides, as nowadays, in Hong Kong, there is at least one social worker in each mainstream school to help with the students’ psychological problems already, so it may not be necessary to implement music therapy in schools. However, I am afraid that I may not agree with this opinion, because in terms of effectiveness, social workers may not be effective at all, and I think it is worth giving music therapy a try. Social workers solving students’ mental problems are ineffective in mainstream schools, which can be supported by the statistics of students’ suicide cases and internalizing symptoms aforementioned. Also, nowadays, we are still listening to so many news about students’ suicide cases nowadays, the situation seems do not have any improvement. The reasons of this circumstance are that some students may not want to reveal their sadness in front of social workers, some of them may think that social workers are always spreading out some positive messages to them, which are not very usual to them. Most importantly, some articles have revealed that ‘positive energy can actually kill people’, social workers are always spreading lots of philosophies on life to students, although they want to encourage students, this is very likely to exacerbate the mental health problems of pupils. So, I think that Hong Kong government should try to adopt another methodology to deal with the existing situation, and music therapy is worth considering.

All in all, music therapy should be implemented in Hong Kong mainstream schools, as it can help students with special learning needs to enhance social skills and skills apply to getting along with others, this is also an effective method which can make Hong Kong’s study environment less stressful and less oppressive.

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Music Therapy As An Effective Treatment To Support Hong Kong Pupils. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 19, 2024, from
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