10 Questions Every Person Should Ask About Music Therapy

Music therapy has shown itself to be a powerful and effective treatment of a wide variety of chronic or acute physical, mental, and emotional disabilities, ailments, and conditions including anxiety, pain, muscle strengthening, and emotional, social, and behavioral health challenges.  If you are considering trying music therapy, here are ten important questions you must ask about before deciding whether music therapy is right for you.

1 . What is the History of Music Therapy?

The healing effects of music are cited in numerous texts throughout history, including the bible, the writings of Rumi, and Einstein. We know of the use of music both in secular and sacred settings. We can find references to music and healing eloquently expressed in many ancient texts such as Plato who wrote, “Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the Universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything.” However, the earliest medical citation of the use of music therapy appeared in 1789, in an article in Columbian Magazine titled “Music Physically” and the first recorded systematic experiments in music therapy occurred in the 1800’s.

” “I live my daydreams in music,
I see my life in terms of music.”
~Albert Einstein

2. Is There a Music Therapy Organization?

Several music therapy associations formed during the 1900’s, the first being the National Society of Musical Therapeutics, in 1903, followed by others such as the National Association for Music in Hospitals, the National Foundation of Music Therapy, the National Music Therapy Association, and the American Association for Music Therapy.  The National Association for Music Therapy (NAMT) and the American Association for Music Therapy (AATA) merged in 1998 to create the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), which is currently the largest music therapy association in the United States. It represents music therapists in over 30 countries in the United States and around the world.

3. Who is a Music Therapist?

Is there a difference between a sound therapist, a dance therapist, a musician, a music teacher, and a music therapist?

There are a number of different certified professionals working in the field of music. Is there a difference between a sound therapist, a dance therapist, a musician, a music teacher, and a music therapist? A music therapist shares qualities of all of the above. Most often these professionals work together, with the adjunctive arts therapies, however they may or may not share the same professional goals, purpose and intention. Registered Music Therapists, (RMT) Certified Music Therapists (CMT), and Board Certified music therapists (MT-BC) must complete years of studies, training, and certification.  A professional music therapist must have a bachelor’s degree or higher in music therapy from one of over 70 approved college and university programs from the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).


These academic years of study are followed by an internship in music therapy at a certified facility. Past certification entitlements for music therapists were RMTs and CMTs, The current certification entitlement of music therapists is MT-BC, and is by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) created in 1983.

4. What Happens During a Music Therapy Session?

There are two basic types of music therapy sessions:  passive or receptive music therapy and active or expressive music therapy. Music therapy is a clinical and evidence-based use of music to accomplish specific physical, emotional, or social goals using music listening or performing.

Music therapy is a clinical and evidence-based use of music.


Music therapy can include:

  1. listening to music
  2. singing
  3. rapping
  4. playing musical instruments
  5. composing music
  6. lyric writing
  7. discussing lyrics
  8. tapping or patting out rhythm

5. Who Can Benefit From Music Therapy?

Music therapy can be beneficial to people of all ages, races and cultures, including

  1. infants
  2. children
  3. adolescents
  4. adults
  5. senior citizens

Music therapy has clinically demonstrated to be effective with those having physical, mental, emotional, social or developmental challenges.

It has clinically been shown to be effective with those having physical, mental, emotional, social or developmental challenges such as juvenile delinquents or prison inmates, diseases of the aging and elderly, those with developmental disabilities, attention deficit disorders, brain injuries and neurological disorders, depression, grief, and mental health challenges, substance abuse problems, physical disabilities, and acute or chronic physical pain. 

6. What Are the Fundamental Elements of Music?

Music consists of four fundamental elements. Each element has an influential effect on us.

The four elements of music are tempo, rhythm, melody, harmony and timbre. Each element has an influential effect on us.

  1. Tempo – The speed at which music is played or performed. Tempos are measured by beats per minute (BPM). Tempos range from larghissimo (the slowest tempo of about 19 BPM or less) or prestissimo (the fastest tempo of 178 BPM or more ) and many other tempo designations in between. Tempo changes can occur within the music with an accellerando (increase in tempo) or ritardando (descrease in tempo).
  2. Rhythm – The systematic arrangement and periodic stress of strong, regular, repeated sound patterns. Alternating note values and rests determine rhythm such as eighth, sixteenth, or quarter notes and rests.
  3. Melody – The sequential pattern of musical notes, arranged in a particular, and often repetitive, memorable, and pleasing manner.
  4. Harmony (or Disharmony/dissonance) – The simultaneous production of two or more combinations of musical notes to create chords (or intervals) resulting in pleasing or displeasing sounds.
  5. Timbre – The  unique characteristics of a distinct musical sound or voice, respectful of it’s particular instrument family (for example, the trumpet has a distinctive timbre in comparison to the drum or flute).

7. Why Does Music Affect Our Bodies?

Each of us is a rhythmic being. Music is innate to us. We have a heart beating inside of us and our lungs rise and fall, rhythmically with each breath. Scientific studies have shown our heart rate speeds up or slows down to match the pulse of the music. This is phenomenon is  called entrainment. 

Entrainment is the synchronization of organisms to an external perceived rhythm. Every human being experiences this.


As we listen to the music, and match the sound of the music, every unique musical element has a different psychological, sociological and physiological effect on our bodies. Entrainment is a biomusicological experience. It is the synchronization of organisms to an external perceived rhythm. It occurs exclusively in  human music and dance. Humans are the only species in which every member of its species experiences entrainment. Other living organisms (yet not ALL in one species) have been known to demonstrate the biomusicological entrainment, although it is rare within any other species.

8. How is Music Effective as Therapy?

Music will bring about physical, psychological, behavioral, and emotional changes such as

  1. increasing or decreasing blood flow
  2. raising or lowering the heart rate or pulse
  3. improving sleep
  4. stimulating one to do physical exercise, such as running or dancing
  5. reducing pain
  6. elevating the mood
  7. boosting motivation
  8. reducing stress
  9. inducing relaxed muscle tension
  10. decreasing abnormalities or impairments in the regulation of metabolic, physiological, or psychological processes
  11. stimulating every area of the brain
  12. improving cognitive skills
  13. developing motor skills
  14. increasing spatial-temporal learning
  15. increasing neurogenesis (the production of neurons in the brain).

9. Can Music Have a Negative Affect?

Research shows that listening to lyrics that involve guns, violence and descriptive acts of aggression can have a negative influence on our emotional and mental health.

Yes, studies have shown that listening to lyrics that involve guns, violence and descriptive acts of aggression can have a negative influence on our emotional and mental health. A study published in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology” (2003), showed that aggressive and violent lyrics increased aggressive thoughts and feelings in adolescents.

Music therapists sometimes choose lyrics to help evoke an emotional response. However, this decision must carefully align with each person’s unique, individualized goal. Music doesn’t necessarily need to have lyrics to evoke a negative response. Music without lyrics, but with a rapid tempo, can raise the heart rate or pulse, overly stimulating or exciting someone who needs to relax.  A hyperactive child, a person having a panic attack, or someone with generalized anxiety disorder, for example, shouldn’t be saturated with overly stimulating music, when the goal is to relax or calm the person.

Doctor and patient

10. How Do I Find a Music Therapist?

If you are interested in locating a music therapist you can discuss this with your trusted doctor or healthcare professional. It would be wise to ask a music therapist to show you their credentials and registrations, degrees, and certifications. You can check with the American Music Therapy Association to contact local or regional chapters. Music therapists can be discovered through online searches and sometimes music therapists conduct therapy sessions online (such as on TalkSpace). 

________________________

Jean E. Dart

Jean Dart, is a published author, speaker, and life coach, and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist (RMT), Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder, and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, a 501(c)3 health education nonprofit organization. To find out more about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance visit www.montereybayholistic.com

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products, and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

The Holistic Use of Essential Oils and Flower Essences with Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients

What are the symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s? What are the contributing factors? How many people are affected? Can essential oils or aromatherapy be effective in lessening some of the symptoms such as anxiety, managing pain, stress, insomnia, and other symptoms. Find out more.

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Continuum Movement – Healing with Sensation, Sound and Silence

I am a a Licentiate Minister with UCM and an authorized Continuum Movement Teacher. Sometimes I have to laugh. I’ve spent a good chunk of my life being very serious. Questions about the meaning of life, what reality really is, and how to ease suffering have driven my search. Short questions…big job…big stakes….or so it has seemed. Continue reading

Who is Living Your Life? Subpersonalities or the Real YOU?

brain face web

Are you living your life as a subpersonality or are you living your life as the REAL YOU? Do you sometimes feel that you are quick to react, judging others, feeling like a victim, being a caretaker, or just wanting more control over your emotions and your life? What is a subpersonality and how does it affect us us as children and adults? Learn more.

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10 Tips for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year, health and wellness friends!

Tips for Keeping New Year's Resolutions

How do we keep New Year’s Resolutions? Why do we fail at achieving goals? How do we succeed at achieving goals?   This is the time of year when we are looking at the year passed and making decisions and goals about our future.  But many of us have problems keeping these goals or even taking a step forward.

 

WHY DO WE HAVE TROUBLE ACHIEVING GOALS?
There are many reasons why people fail at achieving goals or New Year’s resolutions:

  1. Fear of success
  2. Fear of failure
  3. Lack of accountability and responsibility
  4. Poor organizational skills
  5. Setting unspecific goals that are too broad (such as “Be healthy”).
  6. Setting unachievable, unrealistic goals, and not accepting limitations
  7. Need of support system (support groups, friends, partner)
  8. Bad habits of avoidance behaviors and procrastination
  9. Fear of competition
  10. Choosing a goal that is not important, so there is no motivation
  11. Maintaining a negative image and an inability to see the goal achieved

Writing Goals

HOW DO WE SUCCEED AT ACHIEVING GOALS?
Here are 10 tips for achieving success with your goals:

  1. Set achievable goals that you have the talent and skill to complete.
  2. Choose goals you truly care about and are motivated to achieve
  3. Be specific (“eat vegetables 3 X a day” instead of “be healthy”).
  4. Work with a goal buddy and agree to check on eachother weekly.
  5. Break it down and write smaller goals on your calendar every day.
  6. If you don’t reach your daily or weekly goal, start over the next day
  7. Be willing to change your goal if you made it too difficult.
  8. Forgive yourself for making mistakes and allow slips with tolerance.
  9. Use creative imagination techniques to manifest, see, and BE it.
  10. Most importantly, do your homework. Look down deep inside yourself and face any emotional or mental blocks to your goal such as: fear of success, fear of failure, low self-esteem, etc.  Release these blocks to the universe, seek help if needed and begin anew.

Best wishes to you in this new year from your friends at Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.

_____________________________

Jean E. DartJean Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University, is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder, and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, a 501(c)3 health education nonprofit organization. To find out more about our Health Educators, or to apply as a Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance writer or volunteer, visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com

Disclaimer:  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

 

Let it Go!

Best wishes to you, our health and wellness friends!

Let it Go

Click, copy, download and share with friends and family. Give up all bad qualities in you. Just let it go!

Today the focus is on letting go…. surrendering the negative and bad qualities that exist inside of ourselves.

Surrendering the domination of the mind, emotions, and ego, when it is destructive to our health and happiness.

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.
~Havelock Ellis

It sounds simple enough. Just let go. Banish the ego. But why should we banish the ego? Is it really all that bad? Don’t we need the ego to survive and be successful? Yes, this is true. The ego helps us fight and prosper and helps us make good choices in life.  The ego is the inner voice that is concerned for self welfare, safety, and success.

However, the ego can sometimes get in our way and prevent us from truly loving, being prosperous, successful, and achieving our dreams and goals, especially when we are trying to work as a team. There is no place for ego when working together with a group or a partner.  So what exactly is the ego?

Here’s what Einstein had to say about the ego:

EGO = 1 / Knowledge. 

More the knowledge lesser the Ego, lesser the knowledge, more the Ego.

~Albert Einstein

An over-dominating ego can be what causes little children to start swinging at one another on the playground and  little Freddie to come home with a black eye and a broken tooth. So what do we do when  a person is angry, dominating, controlling, and our ego wants us to fight back and hold onto a grudge?  The little voice inside says, “This feels bad.  It’s not right. That person is wrong,” and if we let the ego take over, we might soon find ourselves hurt and angry, saying things we later regret, slamming doors, or in a boxing match with a friend or family memberHere is what Sigmund Freud has to say about the ego.

“One might compare the relation of the ego to the id with that between a rider and his horse. The horse provides the loco-motor energy, and the rider has the prerogative of determining the goal and of guiding the movements of his powerful mount towards it. But all too often in the relations between the ego and the id we find a picture of the less ideal situation in which the rider is obliged to guide his horse in the direction in which it itself wants to go.”

~Sigmund Freud, From New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, 1932.

So what does one do, to release the white-knuckled grip of ego? What do you do (in the moment) to be unaffected by words that sting or hurt?   I asked our Facebook friends what they do when the ego gets in the way, and it’s difficult to let go, and forgive hurtful words or actions.

Here are some of their answers.

  • “In Tolle’s book, A New Earth, he gave me one of the most amazing tools EVER! He provided this tool for whenever we are faced with ‘EGO’ or ‘Pain-Body’ issues. Become a witness and not a participant. Allow a space in front of you, become a witness in the ego’s unfolding and not a participant, bless it all and surrender it. IT works every time for me.”  ~Iris
  • “Take a look at this, it may be of help:  Creating Moments of Joy: A Journal for Caregivers, Fourth Edition, by Jolene Brackey “  ~Hal
  • “I listen to Hilary Stagg, Harpist. This Instrumental music allows you to feel the music, the ministry of it. I have found his music soothes and ministers to every person who walks into our shop and especially myself which prepares me to be able to minister to others throughout the day. Please listen to a sample of his music when you get a chance. Also “speak” to the persons spirit. Not at the body that the spirit houses. Just a thought.”  ~Terri
  • “I step back and visualize both of us as our “true” selves, sparks of God, when the trappings are taken away I remember that we’re all just sparks trying to find our way home. Takes my ego right out of the picture (a constantly battle btw).” ~Kelly
  • With the Emotion Code from Dr. Bradley Nelson, you can help the person release trapped emotional energy that may be stuck in the radiant body of the individual.  ~Evelyn
  • “There are a lot of wise words here about peace and detachment. Still, I think one would be wise to be open-minded if chocolate cheesecake is an option.”~Jerry
  • “I am remembering a technique I use when life is chaotic. Sometimes I have used this imagination technique where I become a worm or a butterfly or something that is unaffected and not burdened by these kinds of worries and emotions.  Yay!! Time for worm meditations.” ~Jean

Ha,ha! We here at MBHA might not choose to  try your amazing suggestion, Mark, but thanks so much for the smiles! 😉

  • “I talk to my angels; they always help when asked.”  ~Ronni
  • “I write myself notes reminding myself that I am a beautiful and loving human being. I have found that the person who hurts me the most is myself because I decide to use other people’s words to hurt me. I have the choice to love myself and accept a viewpoint that is beneficial to my well being. Sometimes that means to listen to what others say and realize how I can benefit from their words, clear any obstacles to love, thereby allowing love to flow more freely through me. Love you and thank you so much for asking the question because it is always a great reminder of what true love is capable of!!!”  ~Liana
  •  “Yoga helps me.” ~Debbie
  • “It also helps to write the qualities you’re working on in a note. Write it in the present tense– (e.g,I am happy… I enjoy a fulfilling relationship with… etc, etc). Then CARRY IT IN YOUR POCKET! I just read this tip in the paper the other day. There was a study done and when people carried good things about themselves in their pocket, they felt better and improved their lives. It was also studied to write bad things down and tear them up or throw away… and of course, surrender is key. You can write whatever you aspire to, but then you surrender it to the good of the whole.” ~Bonnie

Thanks to all our friends for their wonderful tips.  We at MBHA invite YOU to share with us what you do to gain control over the ego, release judgment toward others, practice forgiveness and tolerance, and let go of the need to be right. We leave you with Sai Baba’s final word and the quote for today on our beautiful free poster gift to you.

“Give up all bad qualities in you, banish the ego and develop the spirit of surrender. You will then experience Bliss.”
~Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Best wishes to you with gratitude and appreciation,
Your health and wellness friends at MBHA

Seize the day! Carpe Diem!

As-salamu alaykum (السلام عليكم), health and wellness friends!

Seize the Day

Click, copy, and share with friends and family members. Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.  -Robert Brault.  Carpe Diem – Seize the day!

Today “Seize the day” comes to mind, or Carpe Diem. Just what does that mean and how does one do it?  Well, it’s another beautiful day here on the Monterey Bay. Blue skies, puffy, white clouds, bright, warm sun. We are grateful for the fresh, clean ocean air. It’s the perfect time to “seize the day!”

People are going holiday shopping, hiking in the mountains, getting haircuts, cooking food, cleaning house, doing laundry, going to church, watching television,  filling out Christmas cards, attending a business meeting, posting comments on Facebook, washing the car, exercising at the gym, flying in an airplane, meditating, and paying bills.  So who is seizing the day and who isn’t? Not easily determined by outer appearances. It is all about listening to ourselves, and not about listening to what is “right” or “wrong” according to some other authority.

Here at the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance we determined to be seizing the day and accomplishing our goals. But first we have to set goals. Sometimes it’s not easy. It takes continued focus, vision, and discipline, and often rewriting goals or making new ones. So what does it mean to seize the day and how do we accomplish it? Here is what a few people have to say about it.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
― Helen Keller, The Open Door

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.”
― Benjamin Franklin

“Enjoy life. There’s plenty of time to be dead.”
― Hans Christian Andersen

“Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.”
― Emily Dickinson

“Every man dies.  Not every man really lives.”
― Braveheart

“Do not take life too seriously.  You will never get out of it alive.”
―Elbert Hubbard

“As you grow older, you’ll find the only things you regret are the things you didn’t do.”
―Zachary Scott

“Spend the afternoon.  You can’t take it with you.”
―Annie Dillard

“Dream as if you’ll live forever.  Live as if you’ll die today. ”
―James Dean

So it seems from Helen, Eleanor, Ben, Hans, Emily, Braveheart and the others that “seizing the day” is about spending one’s time wisely and taking immediate action, and one other important quality…enjoyment.  But what gets in the way of us taking immediate action and choosing joy? Sometimes plenty!  It seems the mind plays tricks on us and gets us to do other things rather than focusing on our primary goal…our vision…our dream…our joy.  If we don’t keep focused on our dream, then we never reach it.

Today I saw a video about a vet who lost 140 pounds doing yoga. He had been been a paratrooper and had injured his spine and knees multiple times. He was told by many doctors that he would would never walk normally again and that all physical therapy programs would fail. He succeeded through perseverance and disciplined effort and using a coach to inspire and motivate him. Now gone are the days of the past when he would spend hours sitting on the couch watching television. That changed the moment he made a conscious decision to seize the day!  It wasn’t easy. In the beginning, he fell down, over and over again. But he got back up, because a friend offered a helping hand. He cast aside his two canes and leg braces and is now exercising regularly.  He is enjoying the day, living his life to the fullest, healthy and physically fit.

The truth is that sometimes we need a little help from our friends:  Acupuncturists, nutritionists, holistic health counselors, fitness coaches, Tai Chi instructors, yoga instructors, authors, psychic healers, hypnotherapists, channelers, Reiki Masters, aromatherapists, naturopaths, health practitioners, etc.  Here at the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, we are your health and wellness friends and offer a helping hand when needed, providing access to people, events, resources and services that you are seeking.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”
―Robert Brault.

Thank you, Robert Brault.  Carpe Diem! So how will YOU seize the day today? Enjoy our gift to you, this downloadable poster creation from the MBHA.

~Best wishes from your friends at Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.