Music therapy involves the use of music and musical elements by a therapist to promote, maintain, and restore mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Music has nonverbal, creative, structural, and emotional qualities. These qualities of music are used in the therapeutic relationship to facilitate contact, interaction, self-awareness, learning, self-expression, communication, and personal development.
Music therapy includes various methods which are used to cure various disorders:
Singing: This method is used to help people with speech disorders to improve their articulation, rhythm, and breath control. It is also being used for those suffering asthma or breathing difficulties.
Playing instruments: This method can improve gross and fine motor co-ordination in individuals with motor impairments or neurological trauma related to a stroke, head injury or a disease process. Playing instruments can enhance cooperation and attention.
Rhythm: Activities based on rhythm can be used to facilitate and improve an individual's strength, balance, co-ordination and relaxation. Rhythmic patterned activities can also help hose with expressive difficulties to improve their ability to tolerate and successfully process sensory information, at the right time.
Improvising: This offers a creative, nonverbal means of expressing thoughts and feelings. When emotions are too hard to express and when words fail, music can be a remedy. When learning ability of a child is not appreciable (limited), the opportunity to try different instruments, musical sounds and different mediums may provide an opportunity for mastery of a new skill and increase life satisfaction. Thus it can help to discover the hidden talents too.
Composing: This quality becomes useful in sharing of feelings, ideas and experiences. For children who are hospitalized, writing songs is a means of expressing and understanding fears. For people with a terminal illness, it is a vehicle for examining feelings about the meaning in life and death. Discussion of lyrics and song writing can help adolescents deal with painful memories, trauma, abuse, and express feelings and thoughts that are normally socially unacceptable. It also helps to foster a sense of identification with a particular group.
Listening: Listening to music with concentration has many therapeutic applications. It helps to develop important skills such as good attention and lasting memory. During pregnancy, listening to music has a good impact. It has the power to keep the mind calm. Thus, good music facilitates a good state of mind. Listening can facilitate increased openness to discussion and motivation for increased levels of activity.
Music is success oriented. People of all ability levels can participate and enjoy music.