Music therapy is for all ages - photos of seniors facilites and elementary school children particpating in music therapy sessions-demonstrations

Music Therapy and Wellness:  creative health and happiness - new dimensions for living

Knowledge · Communications · Health Services · Security · Person Centered Care

What is music therapy?  What does a music therapist do?  What age range of clients benefit from music therapy?

Seniors group with 2 music therapists perform for young elementary school children in Vancouver

The following definition is the work of L. Blunt cited in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians

"The use of the elements of sound and music within a developing relationship between patient and therapist to bring about improvements in physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being.  It is both an art and a science.  The power of music as a healing force to alleviate illness and distress has been used extensively in many cultures, but it was only during the second half of the 20th century that music therapy evolved as a specific discipline and paramedical profession.  Increasingly recognized by governmental bodies, music therapy is now state registered in the UK as a profession supplementary to medicine.

Music therapists work with children and adults of all ages.  Spontaneous emotional, as well as learnt, responses to music are seemingly stored at a very deep level within the brain.  Even patients with diffuse brain damage appear able to respond to it, for example by singing melodic fragments with clear rhythm and intonation.  The communicative potential of music can bypass speech for children and adults with severe language and emotional problems. Instruments can become indirect means of communication for autistic children. The use of rhythm as a structural organizer and energizer is effective in helping people with physical disabilities to gain control and organization in their movements. The depressed or anxious person can use music to release tension, to gain access to and express a wide range of emotions, and to boost self-esteem.  The terminally ill adult can both listen to music to decrease levels of tension and play instruments to increase levels of energy and sense of control.

Music therapists work in many settings:  hospitals, hospices, schools, nurseries, and other community-based centres, or privately; they also work with people with visual or hearing impairments and people in prison. Music therapy can be considered as an alternative to a course of psychotherapy or counselling, and musicians themselves are benefiting from music therapy to alleviate both physical and mental stress.

During individual or group work, patients, either as participants or as listeners, make connections between their emotions and the music experienced. The externalization of inner feelings in musical forms and gestures can be clearly observed in improvisational music therapy. Here individual patients or groups of patients are encouraged to create their own music, usually using a range of tuned and untuned percussion instruments. The specifically trained therapist engages with various kinds of music presented by the patient, the musical processes ranging from work with single sounds to complex rhythmic and melodic interaction.

Therapists adapt their own music in supporting the patient's music and may also work with the patient in joint listening.

Music therapists underpin their practice with reference to a variety of treatment models and philosophical orientations.  Some music therapists frame their work within a detailed analysis of the musical elements (rhythm, melody, harmony, etc.), observing changes within the music as mirrored in changes outside the sessions.  Others draw on principles and theories from the related fields of psychoanalysis, early infant development, humanistic and transpersonal psychologies, behaviour and cognitive therapy, and medicine."
L. Blunt

[see also other writings-references by author] P. NORDOFF and C. ROBBINS, Creative Music Therapy (New York, 1977) · L. BUNT, Music Therapy: An Art Beyond . Words (London, 1994)  ·  T. WIGRAM, B. SAPERSTON, and R. WEST (eds.), The Art and Science of Music Therapy:  A Handbook (London, 1995)  ·  P. GOUK (ed.), Musical Healing in Cultural Contexts (Aldershot, 2000)  ·  P. HORDEN (ed.), Music as Medicine: The History of Music Therapy Since Antiquity (Aldershot, 2000)

[Above cited from pp.819-820 -
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Second Edition.  Edited by Stanley Sadie, Executive Editor John Tyrrell Vol. 17, Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2001,2002.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data: The New Grove dictionary of music and musicians - 2nd ed.
1. Music - Dictionaries  2. Musicians - Dictionaries  I. Sadie, Stanley, 1930-  
ISBN 0-333-60800-3
Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication Data: The new Grove dictionary of music and musicians / edited by Stanley Sadie; executive editor, John Tyrrell - 2nd ed.  Includes bibliographical references and index. 
ISBN 1-56159-239-0 (cloth: alk.paper) 
1.Music--Encyclopedias.  2.Music--Bio-bibliography.  I. Sadie, Stanley.  II. Tyrrell, John]

N.B. the inclusion of L.Blunt's definition of music therapy above in no way implies their endorsement of this web site nor does it imply the endorsation of the publishers of the dictionary of this site. However the definition is a very good introduction to the field of music therapy, as practised by many of the music therapists mentioned on this web site.
- Y.Orosa, music therapy consultant for 040522

About Us -

This web site is project of a group of health care and health promotion professionals.  The site has a volunteer reference group, including:  a medical doctor, nurse, long-term-care facility director, music therapy, social work and rehabilitation consultants and lawyers

The providers of this site's information reference materials, including links to other resources on the Internet's Web, or organizations / agencies / facilities - do not accept responsibility for the accuracy - dependability of the information sources.  By use of this site you as the viewer must make your own informed decision as to the information given and or linked to or referred to. 

If you do not wish to accept responsibility for being a consumer of the information or references on this site, please do not go further into the site.

Thank you for visiting this "work in process"
On behalf of the participating professionals that are contributing to this web site's development

Yoying Orosa,
Music Therapy and Social Work Consultant
OnWellness Inc. Vancouver, BC

Photo Credits

The photo collage-banner at the top of this page is intended to give viewers an idea of the conceptualization behind this web project.  The concepts of "health and wellness / well-being" include KNOWLEDGE, having access to reference information; COMMUNICATION, through various medium (as in music therapy); and SECURITY, the sense of safety provided by social-political structures and systems to help experience one's well-being e.g. private and public personal-care / long term care facilities.

The provenance of the photos on this page include:

  • Photo of music therapists at work in a residential long term care facility in downtown Vancouver, BC, collection of Y.Orosa, Music Therapy and Social Work Consultant, recently returned from London, UK work with the British health care system.
  • Elementary school children participate in a demonstration of music therapy activities by Vancouver long term care facilty, directed by Y.Orosa, MT.
  • Book shelf photo from Public Library, Reference Department, section on introductory texts on traditional and alternative medicine, drug dictionaries, treatment guides, taken by N.Chan
  • Cartoon character, Anjolico the wireless cat, is provided by Tony Yau, B.F.A, M.V.A, graphic designer and illustrator, with training from York University in Toronto and the University of Alberta in Visual Arts... This cartoon character is a regular feature in a number of China web sites as well as Hong Kong print newspapers e.g. the Sing Tao Resources-Components of a lifestyle that promotes, strengthens and maintains health and wellness.

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