Music Therapy: Sing me a song

Music Therapy: Sing me a song
18/03/2015 Margarida Moreira

Music therapy is an alternative technique that raises a lot of interest from the public and the professional community. According to the World Federation of Music Therapy (2011):

“Music Therapy is the professional use of music and its elements such as intervention in medical, educational and social contexts, with individuals, groups, families and communities, seeking to improve your physical well-being, social, communicative, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and their quality of life. the research, practice, education and clinical training in music therapy are based on professional criteria designed to meet the political, social and cultural contexts.”

Music is prescribed by health professionals to reduce stress, pain and relax / entertain women in labor. Music therapy is used in schools, hospitals, recreation, rehabilitation and community (social) centers.

The average human ear can distinguish between about 1400 discrete frequencies, between about 20 Hz and 20000 Hz. The sounds that are outside this range are not captured because they do not have enough energy to stimulate the eardrum or because the frequency is so high that the eardrum can not distinguish. However, when the sound is in the range of audible frequencies, the vibration of the eardrum generates an electric current (stimulus or mental sensations) that is sent to the brain. The sound can be analyzed in quantity (physical properties of sound) and quality (sound properties in terms of perception).


Music has effects on the brain:

“Listen cheerful and positive music can improve cognitive abilities, increasing the “alertness” of the brain.” – Leigh Riby, Northumbria University

Increasingly arise discoveries in the fields of neuroscience, psychobiology, developmental psychology, educational psychology and proving that music stimulates various skills: physical, mental and psychological. The music not only promotes cognitive development, but also emotional and social (children carefully analyze the sounds, developing the ability to individualize them in the flow of speech, this happens before the child know the unique words).

“Childhood is a step in which the brain is more flexible, so that the hearing ability and learning effects are greater than at any other stage of life.” – Flohr, Deebus & Miller, 2000.

The practice of music teaches people how to overcome fear (learn to deal with anxiety) and to take risks (developing potential).
The music relaxes and reduces stress, is able to change and influence the emotions and the mood and raises the practice of physical exercise.

Music affects several areas of the body

Physical effects: The brain physically changes in relation to music.;
Mental effects: Depending on the style, music can ease the mind, relax and reduce stress.;
Emotional effects: Music affects the emotions and creates sensations (calm, tension, excitement etc.).

Music therapy has evolved over the years and being adapted for children, the elderly, rehabilitation, mentally ill and terminal illness.

Music therapy is a complementary technique, so it does not replace medicines.

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