Music Therapist career

What is Music Therapy?

Music has an effect like no other form of art. Unlike paintings or sculptures, music often affects nearly every person that listens to it, in some way.

From a very young age, humans usually associate music with something pleasant and soothing. For example, consider a young mother singing to her fussy newborn. More often than not, the harmonious sound of his mother’s voice is enough to calm the newborn. Children are also usually surrounded by music as they grow up, in the form of television shows, games, and school classes. Teenagers are notorious music lovers, and some may go on to surround themselves by music when they become adults.

Music therapy is a type of expressive therapy that uses music exposure to help people improve their well being. This type of therapy can be used to help individuals that suffer from mental or physical ailments or disorders. All sorts of musical experienced can be integrated into music therapy, from listening to music to playing music to writing music.

As a form of therapy, music has been used since ancient times. Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, used music to help his mental health patients feel better, for instance. Over the years, many medical institutions and hospitals have regularly exposed patients to music.

However, the first music therapy degree programs were founded in the United States during the middle of the 1940’s. Since that time, the field of music therapy has been steadily growing, making music therapy careers excellent choices for individuals interested in mental health with a passion for music.

How Does Music Therapy Work?

"Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak."
~ William Congreve

In general, music affects most peoples feelings and emotions. Listening to certain songs, for example, can often bring back good memories of our childhoods, loved ones, or other memories that are just as pleasant.

Listening to music has a number of subtle physical effects on our bodies. For instance, listening to the right music can temporarily lower blood pressure and heart rate. Music also effects our brains’ neurological processes as well. Scientists have discovered that listening to music can cause the brain to release less cortisol, a hormone that has been dubbed the “stress hormone”. On the other hand, listening to music can also cause your brain to release more endorphins, which are attributed to feelings of happiness and satisfaction.

Some scientists also theorize that music effects our brainwave activity as well. This theory suggests that upbeat music with a fast rhythm can stimulate faster brainwaves, while music with a slower rhythm can help calm those same brainwaves.

It's Interesting

  • Jonathan Firstenberg is an American television composer and music supervisor.
    Jonathan Firstenberg was born (1949) in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up on Long Island, in Floral Park and Woodbury. Inspired by his parents, Firstenberg studied different varieties of music in his youth, and started playing rock and orchestral music with a violin and...

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