The Peculiarities Of Music Therapy Technology

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Music as Therapy

Music therapy is the use of music to aid in the recovery of stress related illness and other mental disorders. It can improve mood and self-expression, aid in grief, relaxation etc.

It has been used for millennia from the ancient Greeks to modern day. Music Therapy can be applied in a number of ways, to aid in the recovery memory loss, can be used to help with cognitive and social skills as well as emotional and behavioural needs particularly in children, can be also used to in the recovery of Post Traumatic Stress.

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The History of Music therapy

The earliest references to Music Therapy come from ancient Greece and Greek philosophers. Greek philosophers such as Pythagoras and Aristotle believed that music could serve as a method of healing. Plato wrote “ Music is medicine to the soul, through music soul learns harmony and rhythm and even disposition to justice , “ (Carroll, 2014).

India was also aware of the healing properties of music. Ancient Indians were aware of the potential healing properties of music. Indian Raga Chikitsa Music Therapy elaborated the Indian perspective of musical healing, (P., 1999). Swami Haridas was a classical musician who lived in 16th century, his music was believed to treat illness and cure disease, (P., 1999).

Music Therapy has existed in China for thousands of years evidence of this goes back to earliest Music Theory book and Medicine books which indicated the relationship of music and medicine in Chinese culture. China also utilized experimentation between music and electrotherapy, (Matney, 2019). In 1997 professor Tian Gao established the first music therapy programme in China at the Central Conservatory of Music. Today 12 universities in China offer music therapy programmes. It is a widely popular field of study 200 people graduate from these programmes every year.

Ancient cultural traditions in Australia and New Zealand incorporated music with ceremonies to perform spiritual, moral and educational functions. Post-colonization integration of European and Asian culture has affected all aspects of life in both countries. This has led to a diverse use of music therapy in both regions. Music has reportedly used in Queensland hospitals as a form of therapy from the late 19th century. In the 20’s an Australian branch of the American International Society for musical therapeutics in Sydney. In 1978 a music therapy programme was created in Melbourne university, since then it has become leading programme in Australia offering masters and doctorates in this field, (Galberry, 2015).

During World War 2 Veteran’s hospitals in the US developed more organized approach to Music therapy. As a response to this in UK was Music Therapy training was established in London’s Guildhall in 1968, (Irish Association of Creative Arts Therapists, 2015). The British society (BSMT) was one of the first organizations to promote the benefits of music in the clinical environment. They Published academic articles, arranged discussions and workshops, (British Association for Music Therapy, 2012). In the 50’s many medical professionals knew that music therapy could be used in the clinical environment but they did not know the best method for its use. By the 1980’s Music Therapy develop from a unique patient treatment to the widely respected therapeutic method it is today.

Music Therapy in Memory Loss

Music has the capacity to overcome physical and mental limitations. Music engages a wide variety of functions and processes within the brain this in addition to the emotional impact of music makes it a powerful tool in relation to care for people suffering from age related neurological diseases. This makes particularly useful for Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Dementia is degenerative condition expressing needs and emotions can be very for people suffering from the condition which can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Music therapy promotes communication between doctors and patients either in individual or group sessions, (J., 2019). Singing or playing instruments together creates a feeling of community, togetherness and boosts moods which can be difficult for people suffering from the disease.

Finnish professor Kimmo Lehtonen at the University of Turku recalls an incident with one of his patients “ an 80 year old man with dementia sang old Italian romantic songs, he remembered the exact words and notes. I checked his personal history, a man who could not even remember his own name, spent his best years in Florence where he worked as an architect, (J., 2019). This makes a clear link between music and its power on memory.

The physical and emotional response to music led to the hiring of musicians by hospitals. In every nursing home you can find similar events observed by nurses. Hopefully in the future more nursing homes will utilize music therapy to its full effect.

In recent years increasing number of studies have shown potential studies rehabilitative effects of music therapy in several neurological diseases such as strokes, dementia Parkinson’s, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. The therapy improves motor functions, speech and cognitive abilities within these groups. It is hoped that development of music therapy will establish more effective rehabilitation strategies, (Dr Sihvonen A., 2017).

Music Therapy in Depression

Depression is a mood disorder that characterized by low persistent mood and diminished interest and loss of pleasure. Music therapy when used effectively can allow patients to explore their feelings make positive changes in the mood and give them a sense of control over life, express themselves and develop coping mechanisms, (American Music Therapy Association, Inc., 2006). Research indicates that patients that receive music therapy show greater improvement over those that only receives standard care, ( J. Erkkilä, 2011) The process is based under construction of meaning of emerging thoughts, emotions, and self-expression originating from musical experiences, this helps people suffering from mood disorders to build their self-confidence and social skills up.

Research shows that patients experiencing music therapy show reduced muscle tension, increased self-esteem, decreased anxiety and increased verbalization, (American Music Therapy Association, Inc., 2006).

Music Therapy and Children with Learning Difficulties

Music therapy can be used to help develop children cognitive and social skills as well as emotional and behavioural needs. This is achieved through combination of song-writing, singing, education and discussion, (St Joseph's Foundation, 2019).

Song-writing allows children to explore their feelings in the constructive matter. Singing gives children with speech impediments such as lisps or stutters to vocalize words and sounds through music, this is particularly useful for children with stutters as it builds up confidence in speaking.

For children with Attention Deficit Disorder music therapy increases attention and focus, reduces hyperactivity and strengthens social skills. Music is highly structured this gives children with ADHD or ADD a solid foundation for them to focus on. Music allows them to put their excess energy in to a creative and constructive means of self-expression, (Rodgers, 2019)Pleasurable music gives children with ADHD or ADD motivation to focus on their work and acts as a distraction from over stimulation. Children With ADD or ADHD suffer from a lack of dopamine levels in the brains and music helps them to increase levels resulting in a more calm and focused mind.

Children with Autism suffer from a neurological impairment in relation to social interaction, communication and behaviour. Although people with autism may have a desire to communicate their condition depending on the severity may prevent them from doing so. Pleasurable music when used in therapy may assist in communication, sense of control and self-confidence in people suffering from the autism.

Music Therapy and Recovery from Trauma

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition that some people who have experienced serious traumas in their lives suffer from, symptoms include persistent negative thoughts, insomnia, loneliness and suicide ideation. Music therapy is used to treat PTSD in many cases in addition to general psychological counselling, (T., 2011)

Many veterans suffer from PTSD as a result from traumatic situations experienced during their service. Since World War 2 music therapy has been used to aid returning soldiers suffering from the disorder. Its been used in all areas of military life, pre-deployment, deployment and recovery. Music provides a distraction from the stressful situations that military life can bring. Music can help rebuild neural pathways in patients with neurological trauma from injuries, (H., 2018). Music has been found to be an effective means to reduce stress and anxiety, this includes Combat Stress Reactions were soldiers were unable to perform due to extreme psychological disturbance, (Solomon Z., 1986).

The use of music therapy with sufferers of PTSD is based on the nature of trauma which are reflected in flashbacks and nightmares, both music and traumatic events stimulate the same senses as a result music has the means to distract and placate trauma and turn it into a means of constructive self-expression and self-improvement, (Bensimon M., 2012).

A person diagnosed with Trauma Disorders can associate good and bad memories with Music they have heard. Which can bring good or bad emotions forward and helps the person deal with them. Post 9/11 Music Therapy programmes were designed to reduce stress and improve coping mechanisms within people affected by the attacks.

Music therapy has been used for thousands of years from ancient Greece to the modern day for its healing powers, its usefulness in education and as catharsis from traumatic events. Music therapy when used effectively and in addition with traditional methods of psychotherapy can have an extremely positive effect on patients suffering from various social, physical and psychological disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress, Dementia, Alzheimer, Autism, ADHD and ADD. Even after hundreds of years of practise and research in to music therapy we still do not know, why it has this effect on us, more research is certainly needed in this regard. Modern developments of the topic of music therapy have shown staggering results in relation to recovery from the above disorders, it is possible in the coming years potential cures for disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia will emerge as a result from further study into music therapy.


  1. American Music Therapy Association, Inc., 2006. Music Therapy and Mental Health. [Online] Available at:[Accessed 23 November 2019].
  2. British Association for Music Therapy, 2012. British Association for Music Therapy. [Online] Available at: British-Society-for-Music-Therapy.aspx[Accessed 23 November 2019].
  3. Carroll, D., 2014. Historical roots of music therapy a brief overview. s.l.:Revista Incantare.
  4. Dr Sihvonen A., S. T. L. V. T. M. A. E. S. S., 2017. Music-based interventions in neurological rehabilitation. The Lancet Neurology, 16(8), p. 1.
  5. Galberry, A., 2015. Music Therapy Development Around the World. Music Therapy Today, 11(2), pp. 14-22.
  6. Irish Association of Creative Arts Therapists, 2015. Music Therapy History. [Online] Available at:[Accessed 23 November 2019].
  7. J., S., 2019. Music therapy in Dementia Treatment Recollection through sound. [Online] Available at:[Accessed 23 November 2019].
  8. Matney, B., 2019. The Routledge companion to music, mind and well-being. Music Therapy Productives, 37(1), pp. 84-92.
  9. P., S., 1999. South Indian Music Book. 6th ed. s.l.:The Indian Music Publishing house.
  10. Erkkilä, Jaakko & Punkanen, Marko & Fachner, Jörg & Ala-Ruona, Esa & Pöntiö, Inga & Tervaniemi, Mari & Vanhala, Mauno & Gold, Christian. (2011). Individual music therapy for depression – Randomised Controlled Trial. The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science. 199. 132-9. 10.1192/bjp.bp.110.085431.
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