According to the World Federation of Music Therapy (1996) “music therapy is the use of music and/or musical elements (sounds, rhythm, melody, harmony) by a qualified music therapist with a patient or group of patients, to facilitate or promote communication, interrelation, learning, mobilization, expression, organization and other relevant therapeutic objectives, in order to address physical, emotional, mental, social and cognitive needs. Music therapy aims to develop potential and/or restore functions of the individual so that he or she can undertake better intrapersonal and interpersonal integration, and consequently achieve a better quality of life, through prevention, rehabilitation or treatment.”
Music Therapy has been used since ancient times. Sound and music have always played a fundamental role in various cultures. In the past, no rite was effective if it was not accompanied by music. Primitive man used music as a means of communication with the infinite; For example: for the Egyptians, the God Thoth created the world with his voice sound healing certification. Witch doctors used to use songs and sounds in their magical rites to expel evil spirits that exist in the sick individual, aided by dance and musical performance. In Egyptian medical papyri from 1500 BC, reference is made to the incantation of music relating it to women’s fertility. Also in the Bible we find how David performed healing music in front of King Saul.
The Greeks used music in a reasonable and logical way to prevent and cure physical and mental illnesses. He also played a very important role in the theater. Aristotle spoke of the medical value of music and Plato recommended it to cure terrors and phobias. In the 18th century, research was carried out on the effects of music on the fibers of the organism, attributing to it a triple effect: calming, inciting and harmonizing.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Emilie Jacques Dalcroze said that the human organism can be effectively educated through the impulse of music. She discovered the rhythms of the human being, a starting point for communication with the sick.
Edgar Willems, pedagogue, educator and therapist, carried out profound studies on the relationship between man and music through different times and cultures.
Kart Orff took body movement as the basis of the musical education system, thus using the body as a percussive element. For him, creativity combined with the pleasure of musical performance allows for better socialization and the establishment of a good relationship with the therapist, as well as an increase in confidence and self-esteem.
In World War I, veterans’ hospitals hired musicians as therapeutic aids. This valuable experience helped doctors take it into account and in 1950 the National Association of Music Therapy was founded.
In England, the Society of Music Therapy and Remedial Music led by Juliette Alvin was founded in 1958, which later became the “British Society of Music Therapy”. It was one of the first institutions-
Since 1974, World Music Therapy Congresses have been held every 3 years, in which emphasis is placed on research and the exchange of knowledge.
It is currently being studied as a complementary or master’s degree in Spain. In other countries, such as Argentina, it can be taken as a university degree.
3-THERAPEUTIC CHARACTERISTICS OF MUSIC
Universality. Music is a universal language-
Accessibility. Most people have been immersed in a musical experience as active or receptive individuals.
Flexibility. Music allows work at different levels and objectives because it is very varied.
Structure and order in time. Music has an inherent structure and order.
Aesthetic experience. Music satisfies one of the human needs that contribute to a better quality of life: the aesthetic experience.
Musical preferences. Each culture responds in a different way to different types and styles of music.
Non-verbal symbolic language. Music communicates more subtly than words-
Multidimensional. It encompasses the physiological, emotional, cognitive, social and spiritual dimensions.
Creativity. It makes it possible to integrate and globalize the vital, emotional and mental world of the person.
4-APPLICATIONS OF MUSIC THERAPY
Surgical interventions. During it, music is played so that the patient is more relaxed, feels good and the operation has better results.
Drug-dependencies. Enhances self-worth, self-awareness and autonomy. It also helps to increase self-esteem.
Pregnancy and childbirth. It has been observed that with music therapy a certain precocity is achieved in the development of intelligence and the early awakening of consciousness.
Mentally disabled. Music is used to control incessant chattering, reduce the frequency and intensity of screaming, as well as hyperactivity, stimulate and facilitate the expression of feelings, and maintain attention.
Cerebral palsy. Stimulation of movement through binary rhythms that encourages them to move, such as a military march or with the use of vibration and percussion instruments.
Rehabilitation. Music structures rhythmic movement, facilitates the mobility of the musculoskeletal system, reduces pain associated with movements, reduces both physical and psychological tension and accelerates the recovery of polytraumatized patients.
Seniors. The assumption and elaboration of losses is worked on. For example: to treat Alzheimer’s, music, having an evocative power, helps them remember the past.
Autism. The patient makes sounds with any instrument and the music therapist does the same with another, in this way a conversation will be started.
Learning problems. The use of musical elements is a good regulator of hyperactivity, an attention grabber, and a powerful and fun memory aid.
Personal growth. Improves interpersonal relationships, harmonizes self-knowledge and generally improves the quality of life of the subjects.
Social situations. Music is one of the most spontaneous signs of a group’s identity.
Terminally ill and palliative care. Music therapy is beneficial for those who suffer from pain, mood disorders and anxiety within the scope of palliative care. The spiritual well-being of patients with a terminal illness is also increased. Live music therapy sessions increase the perceived quality of life in the case of people with terminal cancer. However, music does not help the dying go, nor does it prolong life.