Ghada Abdel Rahim
Because the world of the child has distinctive features that are different from the world of youth and adults, studies and experiments related to the educational and therapeutic influence of music need a special pause so that the child learns slowly in a calm rhythm of life. With each sunrise and sunset, he adapts himself more and more to the trends and influences of his environment, and with the passing seasons and years, he begins his lifelong search for self-realization. The two words that are central to the whole situation are “learn” and “adapt”; they are the natural and essential entry point for everyone who wants to understand the child’s world. From here the importance of teaching music to the child emerged.
Music has been used in children’s schools to achieve the greatest educational, social and intellectual goals. It helps to develop the individual’s perception, stimulates the mind, and contributes to the treatment of shyness and introversion because of its ability to provide opportunity to express oneself.
Accordingly, Juliette Alvin proposed a children’s music program, with the following objectives:
- Creating a connection between the child and the music, and between him and his environment.
- Enabling the child to perceive and accept his/her voice.
- Helping the child to open up and sing.
- Giving the child a sense of the physical rhythm that he may miss at times.
- Create a relationship of love and trust between the child and his therapist.
- Developing his taste for music to help him form a healthy mood.
- Enabling noise tolerance.
Competencies or professional skills for a music therapist
There are many competencies or skills that must be available in the conductor of music therapy, and perhaps the most important of them are the following:
- Having at least a bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy.
- Obtaining training courses of 1,200 hours in clinical training under the supervision of a wide range of specialists in providing services to schools, hospitals and psychiatric facilities.
- Availability of a set of musical skills and competencies, such as playing musical instruments such as the piano or guitar, as well as singing skills.
- Familiarity with the different music therapy methods.
- Familiarity with the field of music psychology.
- Having advanced levels of academic training, such as a master’s degree or a doctorate.
- Having in-depth interests in studying many theoretical areas in the field of psychology, dynamic approaches in psychology, developmental psychology, biopsychosocial principles, theories of music therapy, and research methods in the field of music psychology.
- Obtaining an accreditation certificate stating that one has fulfilled the previous requirements.
The trained voice therapist uses a variety of tools, including musical instruments, tapes, tuning forks, devices that emit sound waves at certain frequencies, and even his voice is used to help treat the body. Many hospitals, nurseries and rehabilitation centers offer group therapy sessions as part of their treatment programs.
A therapist can also complete education requirements every five years or take an exam from the Licensing Board for Music Therapists. Those who complete these requirements are called board-certified, and they are considered to have seen the latest trends in the field. You should expect to spend about $50 for a session with a therapist. Experts say that there are some techniques that you can perform at home, and most of them include using recorded music to relax or stimulate your body and mind, and the therapist provides suggestions for musical compositions that may help you deal with specific health conditions. It is important that you find the right type of music for you. Dr. Holborne said that everyone has a different interaction with a particular composer. Someone might tell you that a song helps them relax, but if that song is overwhelmed by the sound of the violin while you hate the violin, then listening to it will not be of use to you. Not only that, but you will feel the sound in your ears as if someone is rubbing a blackboard with their nails!
The therapist has to experiment to reveal the sound that feels best for you, and classical music is often a good choice for music therapy, but some experts warn that this music is not perfect. Janalea Hoffman, composer and music therapist in Kanasas City, Missouri, explained, “This classical music was not specially composed for music therapy. Baroque music is characterized by the movement of the music slowly enough to slow your heartbeat, but this speed changes during the composition of the music, sometimes it speeds up and sometimes it slows down, and this may make it difficult for your heart to interact with it live.”
Beneficiaries of music therapy services
There are many groups that can benefit from receiving this service, such as children, youth and adults, particularly the following:
- Students who suffer from mental or physical disabilities.
- Students with learning disabilities.
- People with autism spectrum disorders, behavioral disorders, sensory impairments, and substance abuse.
- Survivors of physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
Thus, we can say that music therapy includes many beneficiaries, and the music therapy process depends on the background of the therapist and the ability to meet needs that differ from one client to another, as well as the foundations and approaches of cognitive-behavioral theory used in the treatments.
Methods of music therapy
The success of music therapy opened the door to trying to establish a program to train these musicians. The matter developed and the first program in the world to award a degree in music therapy was established at Michigan State University in 1944, which was the starting point for the spread of this new type of treatment. From then on, music therapy became an independent science in its own right, taught in specialized institutes, and it became required that people who practice this type of treatment must study the scientific programs approved for this specialization.
It is worth noting that a few years ago, on December 21, 1997, a number of Western and Italian musicians in the Bosnian city of Mostar opened the Pavarotti Music Center as one of the projects of the War Child foundation, which is an institution interested in establishing remedial projects that help children overcome the painful experiences they go through during wars. The new center treats Bosnian children who suffered conditions of war through the use of music. Mostar is known to have suffered destruction during the war due to a split between Muslims and Croats after the war. The development of practice and science has led to the emergence of a number of approaches and treatment methods, including:
- Improvisational Music Therapy, including the Nordoff-Robbins method and other methods based on stimulating the patient’s reactions at all levels.
- Singing and Discussion depends on motivating the patient to respond to poetic and musical compositions by letting the person express the ideas and feelings that these compositions arouse. This method is used in psychological therapy and in treating problems of adolescents and the elderly.
- The Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) method is based on classical listening, provided that it is in a relaxing mental and physical position. This helps the person to stimulate a pictorial description in order to reach the subjective reality.
- The Clinical Orff Schulwerk (COS) method is based on the use of movement, rhythm, sounds, language and music expression in a group setting.