Music has a strong and powerful effect on the mind. Different types of music can have a significant impact on a person’s mood easily. It can help them feel and process a wide variety of emotions, including happiness, enthusiasm, sorrow, calmness, and attentiveness. The use of music to address the psychological, physical, emotional, and social needs of an individual or a group is Music Therapy.
Music therapy was a valuable resource in modern history, especially during World War I and World War II. Community musicians donated their time and performed for veterans and injured soldiers in hospitals during these two historic wars. Patients and nurses both noticed a change in mood and had a positive emotional response. They stated that their mood had improved and that they were in less pain.
Impact of Music on Human Brains
For decades, music acts as a therapeutic method. Many areas of the brain are seen to be affected, including those involved in emotion, memory, feeling, and movement. Music often helps to decrease stress levels and perception of pain among new moms. Moreover, it is associates with improved self-esteem, self-conception, verbal communication, prosocial behavior.
Many pieces of research show that listening to music you enjoy increases the release of pleasure-inducing chemicals like norepinephrine and melatonin in the brain. It can also reduce the development of stress-inducing hormones in the body. There is a release of dopamine into the brain when people listen to music that gives chills to them. Dopamine is a naturally occurring happy chemical that we earn as part of a reward scheme.
Music therapy can benefit people with mental health issues by using these deep physical responses to music. Apart from aiding in the treatment of mental illnesses, music therapy has many other advantages. It offers a creative outlet, expands knowledge and cultural understanding, and enhances cognitive skills such as memory.
Music evokes memories
Musical events elicit feelings in a variety of ways, one of which is through memories. Long after other memory forms are lost, musical emotions and musical memory can survive. The explanation for this long-lasting influence is that listening to music seems to activate several parts of the brain. It activates connections and forms associations.
Music also helps in improving memory. One research found that people learning a foreign language who practice singing new words and phrases improves their skills and abilities more than those who practice normal or rhythmic speech. Likewise, music therapy may be able to help people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia recall memories. Music, according to scientists, activates regions of the brain responsible for emotion and long-term memory, enabling memories to recover.
Another application of music therapy can be to restore the lost speech. People recovering from a stroke or traumatic brain injury to the brain’s left hemisphere that controls speech can benefit from music therapy. Since singing comes from the right side of the brain, people will work through a left-side brain injury by singing their thoughts first and then gradually lowering the melody.
How Music Therapy Works
Music therapy is suitable for people of all ages, whether virtuosos or tone-deaf, suffering from illnesses, or perfect health. There are a variety of activities, such as melodies, instrument play, drumming, songs, and guided imaging.
Active methods are when someone sings, chants play musical instruments, composes, or improvises music. On the contrary, receptive techniques include listening to music and reacting to it, such as through dance or lyric analysis. During therapy, active and receptive approaches are often mixed, and both are used as starting points for discussions about emotions, beliefs, and goals.
Patients’ physical wellbeing, listening ability, cognitive skills, mental well-being, and goals are all taken into consideration when designing music therapy sessions. The therapist chooses whether to use the imaginative or receptive process after considering these variables and the therapy objectives. It’s worth noting that you don’t need to be a musician to profit from either process. The music therapist will make sure that the lessons are tailored to the patient’s desires and abilities.
The effects of music on the brain are extremely complex. Different parts of the brain process different aspects of music, such as pitch, tempo, and melody. However, music therapy has proven to be successful in various instances. It may aid in the development of trust, communication skills, independence, self-control, social awareness, and focus and attention skills.
The skills learned in music therapy can be used in daily life as well. People can also develop a new hobby of learning an instrument. They can further use it to improve their mental health and cope with stressful circumstances in their lives. Moreover, people will feel a sense of accomplishment after making a piece of music, which can make them feel better about themselves.
Hence, music therapy has many benefits on a human physically and mentally.