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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Music Therapy: Music Charms

“Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.” William Congreve. That, of course, is a poet’s take on music. On the other hand, music therapists claim it has the charms to heal troubled and tortured minds. A significant part of music therapy, the treatment encourages patients to listen, sing and play music in a group or individually, as part of the cure.

It has been noted music tends to have a most remarkable effect on withdrawn patients under treatment for alcohol / drug abuse and acute psychiatric disorders. Not only does it draw them out, but it also helps to open them up, enabling patients and doctors to communicate in a non-verbal manner. Performing together or on ones own, creating music instils a sense of accomplishment, while it makes a connection with other people. There is no need for words to exchange, yet a change is sensed and felt. Self-esteem becomes evident as alcoholic patients and drug abusers develop a sense of their worth, while morose patients become animated, and smile without effort.

In the words of Al Bumanis, Communications Director for American Music Therapy Association: “The power of music. You don't have to be a musician to benefit from music, sometimes it's something as simple as creating rhythm together using drums, tambourines, maracas.”

Music therapy can be applied to single individuals or groups, from making them listen to playing music. Playing the whole gamut from jazz, blues, rock ‘n roll to golden oldies, emotions, feelings find a happy release as the music plays. Since most popular songs relate to personal problems, patients instinctively gravitate to song lyrics they empathise with, and as thoughts loosen, the start of more in-depth psycho-therapy sessions is initiated.

Dr. Julie Trudeau would like you to try it out yourself. Either slip on a digital music CD collection or strum a guitar or rattle some maracas or beat a rhythmic drum roll in sync with your heart beats! An outpouring of leashed emotions, you will find yourself much happier than when you started out!

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