Music is one of the most traditional practices in all the communitiesin the world. Different communities have different genres and songsthat reflect their way of life. The presence of music in everycommunity shows that people find it appropriate to incorporate musicinto their daily activities. Also, the music industry is one of thebiggest industries in the world. Musicians have come up withdifferent genres, and they have intensified entertainment. Today,people practice music at a professional level. Apart fromentertainment, therapists use music to correct various complicationsin people. A career in music therapy is viable for an individual withan interest in using music to correct different complications inpeople especially with the ever increasing appreciation of the roleplayed by the music in the society.
The effects of music on people’s behavior dates back to centuriesago, but it became widely used in the 201th century. After the firstand second world war musicians from all genres went to veteranshospitals to sing for the returning soldiers who suffer from bothmental and physical injuries (American Music Therapy Association).The response that patients had towards the music led to the doctorsmaking conclusions that music aided in the patients’ recovery. Theveterans hospitals hired musicians and gave them prior trainingbefore allowing them into the wars.
Robert Burton, a scholar in the 17th century once noted that musichas an excellent power to expel many health complications in humanbeings. He referred to music as the sovereign remedy for despair andmelancholy (American Music Therapy Association). Music therapy is amode of treatment that involves the use of music to enhance health.It uses different approaches that include creating, listening andtalking about music. Mostly, music therapists use the threeapproaches to promote mental and emotional health. However, they mayalso use it to help individuals cope with physical health conditions.The primary aim of the music therapy career through the approaches ofwriting or listening is to relief individuals of their stress andanxiety. It also aims at improving their mood and enhancing thequality of life for people suffering from illnesses. Patients whobenefit from music therapy do not necessarily need to have musicalcapabilities.
A music therapist, an individual, will take part in helping patientsin different developmental stages fight with certain complicationsthat accompany their ages. Information from research conducted in2008 to determine the effects of music on depression, individualstaking part in the music therapy exhibited a decrease in the level ofdepression symptoms compared to those who did not take part in asimilar therapy (Thaut and Hoemberg 21). The research also indicatesthat the use of theory-based music and improvised singing ad theg3atest benefits among the patients.
Music therapists also assist individuals to deal with stress duringvarious life processes, for example during pregnancy. A studyconducted in 2009 found out those engaging pregnant women in musictherapy helps in reducing anxiety when they listened to soothingmusic two times for two weeks (Davis, Kate and Michael 3). Duringpregnancy, women may experience high levels of stress that may havedetrimental effects on the health of the unborn baby. High level ofstress stimulates the body to release neroinephine and cortisol thatcontribute to increased blood pressure, and it weakens the immunityof the other and the baby (Davis, Kate and Michael 4). Exposing theunborn baby to cortisol may contribute to later anxiety, mentalretardation, autism and depression in the child late in life. A musictherapist takes the mother through some sessions that helps her tofeel the fetus rhythms in response to her voice ad music. Musictherapist also helps the mother to bond with the unborn child.Children prefer to hear the voices of their mothers and they reactwhen the mother sings (Davis, Kate and Michael). A continued singinghelps the mother to know when the baby is happy. Lullabies are someof the most effective forms of music that help the baby to relax.
A music therapist can also employ music in children rehabilitation.In monitoring the cortical activity shows that music stimulateschanges in the brain. Music increases the rehabilitation ofSensorimotor, Cognitive and communication rehabilitation (Aldridge16). The success of the rehabilitation of the three componentsdepends on a child’s commitment and motivation towards the processthat may involve at least 18 sessions with a music therapist. Therehabilitation inclines to the sedative nature of music. Whenlistening to music, an individual can focus his/her attention to themusic, and this assists them to divert their attention to the painthey may be experiencing (Aldridge18). In children rehabilitation,music therapists concentrate on the rehabilitation of balance,agility, movement, and a sense of direction. Music assists childrento coordinate their movements and refine them gradually. The rhythmicmusic stimulates the body to move in a specific way, and thisrehabilitates any lost sense of mobility, direction, balance andagility.
Music therapists also work with adolescents to correct their mooddisorders. According to information from the Mayo Clinic, about threethousand youths out 100,000 have mood disorders and about 10 out of100,000 are likely to commit suicide (Wigram, Saperston and West 3).On average, the youths in the United States spend 4.5 hours listeningto music (Wigram, Saperston and West 5). They derive many benefitsfrom listening to music including achieving mental and emotionalwellness. Music therapist recommends listening to music for a givenperiod to the youths who show depression, anxiety and stress.However, he/she must fits assess the youth’s behavior and identifythe processes to focus on the most effective ones. According to theAmerican Music Therapy Association Standards of Clinical Practice,and assessment should include a psychological, cognitive,communicative, social and physiological function of the patients(American Music Therapy Association). The assessment helps incustomizing an intervention program for the clients.
In the United States, pursuing a career in music therapy is placesone on a recognized path. There is both undergraduate and postgraduate recognized degree in music therapy. The American MusicTherapy Association approves these degrees, and an individual willingto take the course has to possess at least an undergraduate degree inmusic (American Music Therapy Association). The practice is alsounder the control of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function,the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy and the Association forMusic and Imagery. Their work complements that of the regulating bodyto refine the professional skills of music therapists (American MusicTherapy Association). To join in the course, one must havecertification in music proficiency. The music therapy agrees toinstill the skills of music performance, theory, history, reading animprovisation and health communication. According to the AmericanMusic Therapy Association, the openings for the profession have beengrowing on double digits every year since 2010 and the average salaryincreased by 167% (American Music Therapy Association). The primaryreason for the positive growth is the increased appreciation thatpeople have for music and its effects on people’s health.
Currently, most of the practitioners work in established medical andrehabilitation institutions rather than working in private practice.Although the American Association of Music Therapist permits peopleto work privately, the citizens are not fully aware of the professionbearing in mind that only 5,000 music therapist work in America.Therefore, while entering the workforce, it would be advisable towork in an institution before settling for private practice.
Music therapy career is appropriate for me for several reasons.First, it is a fast growing career in the country with moreinstitutions contracting the services of the professional to workalongside other health professionals. Also, the career develops outof passion for music and since I have a passion for music, the careeris the most appropriate for me. The increasing appreciation andreception of the career in the society is likely to createopportunities for music therapists and it is, therefore, a viablecareer.
In conclusion, a career in music therapy is a fast-growingoccupation. Music is one of the oldest professions and people andgradually, people have been using it to improve their health.Empirical researchers have been imperative in discovering the powerthat lies in music in rehabilitation and controlling variouspsychological and physical complications. The power of music startsto show when the fetus is still n the womb, and it continues to be aneffective tool throughout the lifespan. Although there is still asmall number of practicing music therapists, the membership andprofessional bodies should encourage learners to take music therapyand possibly reduce the burden of psychiatrists and psychologists.The future of the career has a positive prospect especially with thegrowing use of the practice in hospitals to attend patients from allthe age groups.
Aldridge, David.Music therapy research and practice in medicine: From out of thesilence. Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Pub, 1996. Print.
American MusicTherapy Association. The History of Music Therapy, 2015. Web.7th Nov. 2015.
Bruscia, Kenneth E.Defining music therapy. New Braunfels: Barcelona Publishers,1998. Print.
Davis, William B.,Kate E. Gfeller, and Michael H. Thaut. An introduction to musictherapy: Theory and practice. American Music Therapy Association.8455 Colesville Road Suite 1000, Silver Spring, MD 20910, 2008.Print.
Thaut, Michael H.,and Volker Hoemberg, eds. Handbook of neurologic music therapy.New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.
Wigram, Tony,Saperston, Bruce and West, Robert. Art & science of musictherapy: A handbook. New York: Routledge, 2013. Print.