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Understanding the impact of music therapy

Yeduhi Menuhim rightly said,

“Music is a therapy, it is far more powerful than words, far more immediate, far more efficient.”

In novel times, music therapy is an extremely beneficial tool for catering to the emotional, physical and cognitive requirements of people. It is scientifically proven that music has a strong effect on the human mind. There is release of chemicals in the brain and an increase in the neurotransmitters. This in turn improvises the sleep quality, elevates the mood, normalizes the blood pressure and so on.

Research has put forth that music helps in the maximization of memory and retention. Scientists and doctors have come together with therapists to extract the full flavor of music as a healing tool. Across the globe, music is employed in a variety of ways to pace development, pace healing and cure illnesses of people. A lot of research is still ongoing to find out the other healing abilities that the art of singing, writing songs and composing holds for humans.

What is music therapy?

Music therapy is a therapeutic technique in which music assists in treating a multitude of mental and physical issues. It can come to play by composing music, dancing, singing or just discussing songs. Not only does it assist in treating conditions like depression and stress but also physical illnesses. It comes to work as an alternative to therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy and counseling. Music therapy has evolved and is not just restricted to therapists but is also used by doctors to treat diseases. There are numerous forms of music therapies designed for specific needs.

Forms of music therapy

Some forms of music therapies used worldwide for treating a multitude of mental health issues are given below-

1. Nordoff-Robbins

This form of technique of music therapy is used on children with autism, emotional distress, mental illness or difficulties in development and learning. Music was mainly incorporated to pace up children’s therapy.

A therapist who specialized in this field would emphasize the creation of music and its benefits in helping children. This technique is used for the personal growth of the client where they create music together. It is a commonly practiced technique used across the globe and is used for patients with various experiences.

2. Neurological Music Therapy

This form of technique of music therapy is an amalgamation of music with neuroscience. Here, it is closely observed how music is perceived by the brain and its influence on the behavior of the individual. This is a scientific approach where the brain is traced and the changes noted with and without music.

Therapists specializing in this faction claim that this therapy has bolstered major development in the motor skills of people. Going into the realm of tunes by following the music, and moving hands and feet along with it has helped children work on various skills.

3. Kodaly

This form of technique of music therapy is often called the philosophy of music therapy. It inculcates music as a social and cultural aspect to treat individuals. In this method, the patients have to listen and think about the rhythm of the music.

The core aspects of this technique involve the base, sequence, and tone of the rhythm for the progression of the patient's learning. This assists in the learning, development of motor skills, and clarification of concepts and promotes inclusive growth.

4. Orff- Schulwerk

This form of technique of music therapy was mainly developed to aid children with disabilities, and delays in development. It is usually aligned with medication to act as a catalyst for ongoing treatment.

This is a tool for the improvisation of the patients in both education and communication. It is an approach of humanistic psychology, where music acts as a vehicle to brush up on the learning and expressing ability of an individual.

Impact of music therapy

The approach of using music for therapy has left a highly positive impact on humankind. There are a multitude of aspects where it has come to rescue, be it related to mental well-being or physical illnesses. Here are a few ways listed in which music therapy has helped in the healing of individuals –

  • It has assisted people experiencing emotional turmoil in their life. Music has come into the picture when coping techniques are deployed for dealing with mental illness. When dealing with symptoms of mental illness, we hear the common expression of “using coping strategies” to help lessen symptoms. Music therapy offers varied coping strategies like breathing exercises, rhythmic grounding using rhythm and auditory senses, and distraction techniques. So, whenever a patient feels they are overwhelmed by a feeling or past trauma, they resort to these skills to ease their anxiety and pain.

  • Individuals going through mental illness often suffer from aggression and frustration. Often this reaches its peak and the daily chores and conversations also go out of their hands. Music therapy comes into play and audio aids are offered to the patient for managing their anxiety and anger. It is a relaxation strategy that helps in traversing calmness to a client. Emotional catharsis is often used to exercise control over emotions, especially aggression. Listening to music releases endorphins in the body that modulate emotions and curb aggression. The therapists choose specific rhythms and tunes facilitating and catering for the needs of the individual.

  • It is difficult for a person going through a mental health issue to manage interpersonal relationships. It is not a cakewalk for them to put forth their views, express and communicate with their friends and family. The issue may also lead to isolation and later depression in the person going through a depressing phase in their life. Music comes to the rescue of such people and assists in the development of social skills and abilities of the individual. This therapy is usually given in a group setting to make room for healthy interaction and communication among patients.

  • Music therapy has also made individuals practice self-realization, boosting their self-esteem and morale. Many times, people fall into a low phase of their existence after their respect has been tarnished by someone, they suffer failure or heartbreak. It takes a toll on their mental health which makes self-doubt and existential crises settle in their minds. Therapists often use music to soothe patients’ minds and relax their bodies. Usually such clients show signs of both physical and mental distress which makes them skeptical about their abilities in life. Music therapy acts slowly but is an extremely trusted way to help clients overcome their fears and past traumas.


Music therapy has navigated its way in mainstream therapy. The various benefits it has for both, the mind and the mind has made it the need of the hour. Researchers are convinced of the idea that the cognitive and behavioral impact of music therapy has a vast scope. We at ManoShala offer group music therapy sessions for people from all walks of life, gender and age groups. It would help in the accomplishment of individual goals. There are many divergent music therapy sessions available that are personalized to suit an individual's needs. Hence concluding, music therapy has been a raging way of coping and improving the health of an individual.

Written by: Anushka Somvanshi