Music seems to be a universal component that not only brings people together and instills a multitude of dynamic emotions, but it also provides beneficial treatment and therapy options for many patients and clients of all ages and conditions. The purpose of music therapy is to provide a unique form of treatment and serve as a navigational tool for achieving the goals that the music therapist has set with the patient/client.
Music Therapy can be used to address several individuals needs including, social, cognitive, physical and emotional needs. The therapy styles differ from patient to patient depending on specific demands but creating, listening, moving to, and singing are all common types of therapy methods. Music therapy is not only a unique therapy method but can also serves as a catalyst for patients, in which other areas of their lives become enhanced. Research shows that music therapy demonstrates favorable promise in the aspects of physical rehabilitation, increased motivation, creating an outlet of self expression, and also providing an avenue of emotional support for patients and family members. Music Therapy can also assist in generating relaxation and aid in decreasing anxiety and discomfort that can often times be brought on by disabilities associated with injury.
The healing powers of music have been recognized as far back as the great literary works of Aristotle and Plato. However, it wasn’t until World War l and World War ll that a demand for music therapy grew and became a fundamental part of society. Music therapy grew its roots when community musicians gathered together and began to play for wounded soldiers and veterans in local hospitals. The doctors and nurses quickly realized how beneficial music was to the recovery and well being of their patients and soon after, the demand for a college curriculum was born. In 1944, Michigan State University founded the first collegiate program for music therapy. Today, there are over 70 universities across the country that have degree programs in music therapy up to the doctoral level.
To be clear, there is a vast difference between a music therapist and a musician. In order to become a music therapist, one must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from a university accredited by the American Music Therapy Association. Apart from the general required curriculum, a student must complete 1200 hours of clinical training, as well as a supervised internship. After successful completion of at least a bachelor’s degree, aspiring music therapists are invited to sit for a national board certified exam in order to obtain credential music therapist certification. This exam is vital, as it is the only way to practice music therapy in a professional atmosphere. As is any other profession, a music therapist must follow the policy guidelines listed under the Code of Ethics, Standards of Clinical Practice, and Professional Policies.
With the help of music therapists, it has become evident that more people can be helped in an extraordinary way that is tailored to their specific strengths and weaknesses. Music therapy is a positive experience that enhances growth, change, and prosperity not only in the individual receiving the treatment, but in the surrounding family members as well.
Pamela Rowe, Speech and Music Therapy provides Music Therapy services by a Board Certified Music Therapist in the Greater Orlando and Central Florida area. Please call our office at 407-271-4911 to see if Music Therapy can help you or your loved one.
-Cassie Weinz, BS, SLP-A