Music as Therapy

Hmm so, as mentioned yesterday, I challenged myself to write a song based on a random word generated (I got “duty”). I did this last night and came up with some interesting stuff. I mean, the song was a piece of shit, don’t get me wrong, lol. I was thinking of posting it here, but it’s too lame. However, it was interesting how, under pressure to create, I managed to quite easily pull a song out of my ass. I was somewhat surprised seeing how ‘blocked’ I’ve felt lately. The song wasn’t groundbreaking structurally (verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus) or musically (It was just acoustic guitar strumming, and I used only five chords in the whole song). But I thought I came up with a couple of decent vocal melodies, and the lyrics were quite telling. (I guess these areas are where my talents most readily lie).

There are so many scenarios that could fall under the umbrella of illustrating ‘duty’, but my song was about the way I push myself hard, and walk around with a ‘stone in my shoe’ and ‘the world on my shoulders’. I must admit I do feel this constant heavy sense of duty to ‘do something with my life’. (Hahaha, poor middle class Bec.) I was just describing my emotions, but afterward I took a step back and thought, “Man, I really put a lot of pressure on myself. Maybe I should let it go and go with the flow more.” It’s cool that a song made me realize this.

A lot of times music is like therapy for me. It’s definitely recognized as such in the wider world, too. There’s even a whole branch of therapy called “Music Therapy”! According to my good buddy Wikipedia,

Music Therapy is an allied health profession and one of the expressive therapies, consisting of an interpersonal process in which a trained music therapist uses music and all of its facets—physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual—to help clients to improve or maintain their health. Music therapists primarily help clients improve their health across various domains (e.g., cognitive functioning, motor skills, emotional and affective development, behavior and social skills, and quality of life) by using music experiences (e.g., free improvisation, singing, songwriting, listening to and discussing music, moving to music) to achieve treatment goals and objectives. It is considered both an art and a science, with a qualitative and quantitative research literature base incorporating areas such as clinical therapy, biomusicology, musical acoustics, music theory, psychoacoustics, embodied music cognition, aesthetics of music, and comparative musicology. ”

You tell ’em, Wikipedia!

Now check out this rad video of an elderly man in a nursing home, and the way he is responding to music from his era…pretty awesome: (Thanks Ross for the link)

I love this video, and it definitely shows that music isn’t just some frivolous ‘entertainment’ pursuit. It clearly also has the power to shape and better people’s lives. It’s amazing that after not responding to many more traditional therapies, this man was moved simply by hearing a song that he loved and recognized.

You can learn more about Music Therapy here.

Pretty short post today, but that’s all I have in me, I think. Need to go finish my bass practice. Hopefully in the next few days my ‘block’ will lift – I’ll continue these songwriting exercises, and see if I can get myself to open up and write something that feels real.

Over & out!


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2 Responses to Music as Therapy

  1. Pingback: Different kinds of music listeners | thefullmusician

  2. Pingback: Different kinds of music listeners | Heavy and Weird

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