In compositional music therapy, the music therapist (MT) helps the client write songs, lyrics, or instrumental works that lead to a musical product, such as a written copy or recording of the song. The MT often handles the more technical parts of the process, and engages the client at an appropriate level (words, music). Goals of such work often include expressing thoughts and feelings, as well as developing decision-making skills.
This is a “hello song” composed for music therapy master’s program at Augsburg University. It’s dedicated to the folks living in the memory care program where my mom used to live, and where I have the privilege of playing once a week (pre-COVID). In the middle of the song, I name each resident and say one thing I love about them. I miss them all so much, and hope this video will give them a smile & let them know I’m still thinking about them.
For many decades Music Therapy has been widely practiced within the medical community as a method of addressing numerous health concerns and ailments. More recently, the practice of utilizing music therapy for other applications has become more widespread.1 One particular field that has been rapidly growing within recent years is the application of Music Therapy in the workplace.
Many employers have recognized the benefits of offering Music Therapy as a way to help promote health and wellness among their employees. When facilitated by a qualified Music Therapist, both passive (listening and enjoying) and active (playing and creating) Music Therapy has been shown to boost employee morale, promote collaboration, and improve overall productivity within the workplace.
Here’s a quick look at some of the most common benefits of Music Therapy in the workplace:
Trained Music Therapists can help teach your employees how to intentionally use music throughout their workday to help improve their mood, focus, and productivity at work.2
Promotes Health and Wellness
Recent research has specifically detailed the health and wellness benefits of Music Therapy when used within a medical setting. In the workplace, Music Therapy can help to reduce stress, improve moods, and boost employee’s immune systems.3
Playing, listening, and creating music in a team environment can help your employees to connect more deeply and promotes better communication among your employees.4
Lately I’ve been becoming more and more interested in music therapy, which involves creating, playing, singing, or listening to music to help address various physical or mental ailments in patients. While anyone can experience the healing and therapeutic benefits of music on their own, music therapy sessions are generally conducted or overseen by a licensed therapist or specialist. Administering music therapy under the care of a trained music therapist can greatly increase the benefits of this time-tested and popular practice.
There are many different applications and benefits of music therapy, and I hope to dig deeper into each of them on this blog at a later date. In the meantime, here are three of the more common benefits and uses:
Helps with Pain and Recovery
Music therapy can help change our perception of pain. Surgery patients, people with chronic pain, and cancer patients have reported a reduction in pain levels when undergoing music therapy.
Helps with Symptoms of Depression
Music can have a tremendous effect on our moods. Many therapists use music therapy to help those suffering with depression because of its ability to help regulate emotions and promote general well-being.
Helps Improve Memory Functions
Because of its melodic and repetitive nature, music has the ability to improve our memory and general cognitive functions. Studies on patients with Alzheimer’s have also shown that music therapy can help recover previously lost memories. The effects here can be particularly dramatic; see for example this remarkable video of a memory care patient named Henry:
Henry not only remembers his love for music, but even the name of his favorite singer (Cab Calloway) before then crooning a familar Christmas tune. I’ve served as a pianist/songleader at memory care facilities, and while I’ve never seen anything quite this dramatic, I have seen previously unresponsive people open their eyes wide (like Henry does) and literally dance in their chairs. It’s amazing and truly a joy to behold.