There exists an inherent quality in sound that tends to calm or disturb, contingent on its psychological and physiologic effects. Hence, sudden loud noises might arouse fear and apprehension; coordinated musical resonance might evoke pleasure; rhythmic cadence stimulates motor activity in an individual and relieves tensions; dissonant and shrill reverberations promote tension and may originally be experienced as painful.
What to expect?
Sounds can influence both cortical and subcortical areas, affecting the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Harmonious and rhythmic tones can stimulate emotional feelings, promoting happy, excited, and sad moods. Rhis is why, increasing interest has been shown in the use of music in medicinal field (Gaston, 1968; Licht, 1946; Mathews, 1906; Nordoff & Robbins, 1977; Ruud, 1980; Reese, 1954; Schullian & Schoen, 1948; Stein & Euper, 1974; Walters, L, 1954; Zimney & Weidenfeller, 1978).
How does it work?
A Journal of Music Therapy exists with many interesting articles about Music therapy. There is hardly any doubt that music can stimulate, relax and sedate, depending upon past associations and present symbolic significances (Colbert, 1963). Accordingly, it has been employed in various ways to treat both psychotic and neurotic patients (Altshuler, 1944; Blaine, 1957; Blair et al, 1960; Folsom, 1963; Gutheil, 1954; Ishiyama, 1963; Jenkins, 1955; Joseph & Heimlich, 1959; Masserman, 1954; Muscatenc, 1961; Pierce et al, 1964; Reinkes, 1952; Rogers, 1963; Rose et al, 1959). In many cases comprehensive programs have been organized around music appreciation assemblies, singing groups, rhythm bands, and concert and community singing clubs (Van de Wall, 1936; Soibelman, 1948; Gilliland, 1961, 1962), making the means for both personal achievement and socialization available. In hospitals, day hospitals, and other settings background music might assist to release tensions, allay fears, provide an escape from boredom, and encourage teamwork (JAMA, 1956).
Music can also sometimes serve as a channels of communication among patients (Snell, 1965). It often becomes a stimulus for the verbalization of emotion and a vehicle for the encouragement of interaction in a group (Heckel et al, 1963; Lucas et al, 1964). From projection of feelings the individual is assisted to assume responsibility for his or her feelings. Initial comments about the musical composition and its sources are followed by verbalization concerning inner emotional stirrings and empathetic feelings. These are at first dissociated from the self, but soon is acknowledged as part of the person. The patient talks increasingly about how different forms of music which positively affect him or her. In a group setting there is an opportunity to listen to others, to compare feelings, and to identify with members of the audience (Weiss & Margolin, 1953; Shatin & Zimet, 1958; Sterne, 1955 ). Transference toward the music therapist and the group members is almost inevitable and provides opportunities for exploration, clarification, and interpretation.
When is it used?
Fultz (1966) contends that music therapy properly employed may suffice the following rehabilitative goals: (1) it aids in diagnosis and treatment planning, (2) it help establishing and cultivating socialization, (3) it promotes self-confidence, (4) it controls hyperactivity, (5) it fosters the development of skills, (6) it assists in the correction of speech impairment, and (7) it facilitates transition from non-verbal to verbal codification systems.
Role of therapist:
Music therapy has becomes an important adjunctive therapeutic agent, and the music therapist who is properly trained may be employed constructively as part of a team in a treatment program. The professionalism and education of music therapists is constantly being improved and monitored by the National Association of Music Therapy and the American Association of Music Therapy.