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June 27, 2011 at 2:17 PMComments: 2 Faves: 0

The Power of Music

By E.M. Wollof from SLN More Blogs by This Author

Music is like a home cooked meal, it brings people together. Music transcends the boundaries we have placed upon our limited view of the world, bringing together people from all walks of life in a common love of rhythm, lyrical ingenuity, emotion, and shared experience. It should come as no surprise then, when the music we all love is being used more often to help those who are dwelling in the darkness that is disease come back to the light.

The history of musical therapy dates back as long as the written word. The first philosophers understood the impact music has on the human mind and spirit as well as the ability it has to break down cultural boundaries. The more "recent" rise of music therapy began in the 20th century with World War I and World War II. Local musicians would visit the hospitals that were caring for the mentally and physically wounded soldiers, sit down in the wards and play the music they so love. The physicians and nurses began to notice a marked difference in the stability of the soldiers and urged the hospital to hire these musicians immediately. After being hired, the true nature of music therapy began to evolve to encompass psychology, sociology, knowledge of human anatomy and much more. This evolution created the need for a curriculum to support this ever growing and popular form of treatment.

In 1944 Michigan State University created a curriculum path to begin training musical therapists and the profession has only grown since then. Now, music therapy is used to treat a countless number of ailments and addictions, and has become a cornerstone of alternative therapy practices.

From intense emotions to the evocation of memories long past, music has the ability to touch the very heart and soul of every human being on the planet. We should all take comfort that the music being created this very moment has the ability to transcend countless boundaries and console those who are searching for hope.

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  • A great, important topic! Music isn't like movies or books or sports or other "pastimes". Many evolutionary psychologists even believe music came before language for us! There is actually a portion of our brains which is dedicated JUST to understanding music.

    I watched this awesome documentary (Which I can't seem to remember the name of! Arg!) featuring people whose musical portion of their brain is slightly off. One woman's didn't function at all. Intriguingly, all music was just a mix of chaotic, unrelated noises for her. She said she found all music annoying, especially complex classical pieces. And there were other people they featured on the opposite end of the spectrum. A blind, autistic man and musical savant who could listen to any song just once and play it back - in a variety of musical styles on the piano. Another man had severe, debilitating tics which disappeared while he drummed!
    (I'll let you know if I ever remember the name of the show!)

    Clearly, music is an intrinsic to what it means to be human!

  • Who knew? I do like hearing an old song every once in a while on the radio - like the other day I heard one that reminded me of my high school days.

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