Music Therapy: An Art beyond Words

Music Therapy: An Art beyond Words

Music Therapy: An Art beyond Words

Music Therapy: An Art beyond Words

Synopsis

Can music help people to overcome or cope with mental health problems? Music therapy is a relatively new discipline; although the power of music to alleviate illness and distress has been recognised for centuries, it is only in the twentieth century that systematic research into the reasons for its efficacy has really begun. Leslie Bunt has written this book to explain the purposes and techniques of music therapy as it is practised today to a wide range of mental health professionals, and for all those interested in the use of creative arts in therapy. power of music to alleviate illness and distress has been recognised for centuries, it is only in the twentieth century that systematic research into the reasons for its efficacy has really begun. Leslie Bunt has written this book to explain the purposes and techniques of music therapy as it is practised today to a wide audience of mental health professionals, and for all those interested in the use of creative arts in therapy.

Excerpt

Music therapy is a relatively new discipline, It is being increasingly recognised at a time when there has never been such a variety of music available to so many people. We may go regularly to the concert hall, the opera house, to a jazz club or a pop concert. We may be members of a local choir, band or orchestra. Music of all styles is also available to us at the push of a button in the comfort of our own homes. We seldom meet people who report no liking for any kind of music whatsoever.

This thirst for music is demonstrated in many ways: singing or playing instruments together with family or friends; in most religious and secular festivals and rituals; and in the theatre. An outstanding actor of his generation, Antony Sher, writes: 'There is nothing more exciting than acting to live music, the make believe at its most indulgent and its most thrilling.' It is difficult to imagine being unable to celebrate important life events without our favourite music. Favourite tunes have so many associations for us; we can even conjure them up at will and hear them inside our heads. Sometimes they creep in apparently uninvited. Our preferences for music are individualistic, relating to our personal and musical histories. There is a vast repertoire of both precomposed music and traditional music from more oral traditions available to us. We would need more than our one lifetime to become familiar with a small fraction of all of this music.

What are the connections between us and music? The answers include: the pleasure gained from listening; the warmth and friendship from being part of a group making music; the stimulus and satisfaction from regular practice and rehearsal; the intellectual delight from exploring the intricacies of musical forms and structures; the physical energy released within us by both playing and listening to music, inspiring us often to move and dance. At the root of all these reasons lies the fact that music links with our innermost emotional, spiritual and most private selves. Music helps us to feel more human. It brings us into very close and immediate contact with the people around us and at the same time connects us both with images from the past and predictions of the immediate future. Without our involvement as either listener or player there would be no music. We are the necessary factor in giving rhythmic, melodic and harmonic

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