Therapy Blog: Why we love Music Therapy

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Have you ever been going about your day, driving to work or shopping in your local supermarket and you hear a song that takes you right back to an entirely different time in your life? The music might even change your mood, make you feel happier, calmer, energised or sometimes sad or nostalgic. You probably don’t give it much thought but this is the power that music has over us. When you really think about it, it’s pretty extraordinary that a song can completely alter how we’re feeling, sometimes only temporarily but the affects can be even longer term.

What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence based use of music to support individuals to improve their health, functioning and wellbeing.

Music Therapy is provided by a trained Music Therapist. A music therapy session might involve listening to music, making music, writing songs, singing, recognising rhythms and more.

Neurologic Music Therapy is a specialised area of Music Therapy. Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) is the therapeutic use of music applied to sensory, speech and language, cognitive, and motor dysfunctions. NMT is based on neuroscience research into how music is processed and perceived in the brain, and how we can use that as a tool to achieve non-musical goals.

There are 5 key ways that Music Therapy can help children to achieve their therapeutic goals.

Attention & Memory – music provides stimulation and structure to the brain, it introduces timing, grouping, and synchronisation which improves how our brain organises information this can improve both attention and memory.

Speech & Language – speech and singing use some of the same neural systems which means that in therapy we can use music and singing to help to achieve speech and language goals.

Fine & Gross Motor movement – using auditory rhythm and the spatial placement of musical instruments can support children to improve strength, endurance, balance, range of motion and coordination.

Emotion – music can have a significant impact on how we’re feeling. Just like our earlier example when your favourite song comes on the radio and makes you feel a certain way, music can be used in therapy to trigger an emotional response like happiness or calm.

Communication – music is a means of communication and can be used to express feelings and emotions non-verbally.

What are the benefits of music therapy?

Music therapy can have many benefits for the children that we support with disabilities and related health conditions. Some of the many ways that music therapy can help include:

  • pain management
  • improving mood
  • enhancing quality of life
  • helping kids to express themselves
  • encouraging movement and coordination
  • relieving stress and anxiety
  • improving concentration
  • having fun and being a kid!

At Xavier, our passionate therapist Mia is a trained Neurologic Music Therapist. Mia uses Music Therapy to assess a child’s functional ability in different areas such as sensory motor, cognition, communication, and social emotional development. In a therapy session, Mia will use music along with other sensory techniques such as touch to help your child reach their therapy goals. Mia says “I like to use a multi-sensory approach to therapy and the kids love this. Children and families don’t need to be musical to have success with music therapy. Activities can be as simple as using pots and pans or other props as drums or movement with music of your choice. It is a very personal experience.”

Further information

If you’d like further information about Music Therapy with Mia call us on 1800 XAVIER or email intake@xavier.org.au