Music may be “good for the soul,” but it also seems to be good for one’s health as well. Though music is extremely popular, especially in this day and age, many hardly recognize it as a legitimate form of medicinal care. Music therapy has been shown to have extremely positive results on both medical treatment and life as a whole.
Music therapy is officially known as the use of music in clinical situations to help accomplish individualized goals, and includes the help of a professional who has completed a music therapy study program. Studies have shown that there is a 94% success rate on all procedures. Robert Zatorre, professor of neurology and neurosurgery at Montreal Neurological Institute, states that “On the surface it works because, in some way, everyone relates to music. Music really is universal.” Even infants, as young as a few weeks old are able to respond to music. Music has even lead to patients being able to regain their motor skills. Because songs are very repetitive, the brain is able to learn a rhythm rather quickly and then is able to time the music to a beat. At every beat, the brain tells the body to take a step and to prepare for the upcoming beat. Not only is music therapy excellent for motor skills, it is also extremely important when regaining cognitive abilities. One of the more well-known cases successful music therapy comes from Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Congresswoman who was shot in the head as part of an assassination attempt in January, 2011. As a result, she was not able to speak and was not capable of repeating sentences. She was able to sing sentences, however. After extensive music therapy, not only had Giffords regained her cognitive abilities, but also her spirit. Music has been shown to release the chemical dopamine, which is often associated with pleasurable experiences and is why people tend to regain energy and spirit when listening to music.
Not only is music exceptional for medicinal treatments, but there has also been a very large, positive impact on domestic and academic behavior. Studies have shown that 71% of students who play instruments are less likely to engage in actions that could result in the need to be disciplined, and that twenty to thirty percent of students in the arts have higher academic achievements, including an increase in IQ scores. Not only is there an increase in academic achievements, but there is also an improvement in domestic behavior. 9 out of 10 adults claim that playing instruments and listening to music brought their family together. Music therapy improves one’s self-esteem as well decreasing one’s depression. A scientific study regarding music therapy on children was done at Queen’s University Belfast, one of the largest studies of its kind. All the children were undergoing emotional, developmental, or behavioral problems. Researchers gave 128 children usual treatment options, while the other 123 children were given music therapy treatment along with usual treatment. The contrasting results showed a significant difference between children who did receive music therapy treatment and those who did not, in that the ones who did receive music therapy sustained positive results in the long term.
Not only is music therapy an effective form of treatment, it has shown incredible results and is sure to be even more advanced in the future.