Focus Care

16 February, 2021

The Benefits of Music Therapy

Most people can remember a moment when music has made them feel happy. Its power as a healing tool is undeniable, and music therapy for older people or people with dementia or a disability can result in improvement within their physical, social, and emotional health. Here, we explore the many benefits of music therapy.

What Is Music Therapy And How Does It Help?

The aim of music therapy is to provide a secure and nurturing space of acceptance through playing and listening to different forms of music.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to music therapy. In passive music therapy, clients may enjoy listening to music and be invited to visualise images. Favourite music chosen from your loved one’s childhood or younger years may be used to evoke engagement and recollection of happy memories.

In active music therapy sessions, participants are encouraged to try playing or improvising music, or taking part in other activities. This can involve playing an instrument, singing, songwriting or even dancing. 

Throughout history, music has been recognised for its therapeutic benefits. In World War II, medical professionals noticed that when music was played, it positively affected the wellbeing of wounded soldiers. As time has progressed, neuroscientists have begun studying how music affects our brains and makes us react the way it does.

What Are the Benefits of Music Therapy?

The experience of participating in music therapy can be really enjoyable, helping us to feel and express a range of emotions. In people with issues communicating, responses such as singing or humming can promote reconnection with loved ones. Music is also known to move us, increase our holistic wellbeing and even make an impact on our sleeping patterns. 

Participation can help people to learn, interact and grow while expressing feelings in a safe environment.

Research has found that music therapy helps us to connect with each other and the world around us. It can also have a range of other incredible benefits:

  • Pain reduction

  • Reducing anxiety

  • Managing stress

  • Lowering blood pressure

  • Improving breathing rate

  • Relaxing muscle tension

  • Evoking happy memories

What Is Music Therapy Used For?

There are a huge variety of situations that music therapy is used for. Programs are designed to suit individual needs and requirements. This means that music therapy may differ for those living with dementia, compared to those living with disabilities, for example. 

A good music therapist will ensure that sessions are relevant to the person’s interests, background and desired outcomes.

Music Therapy for Older People and People Living With Dementia

Older man smiles wearing headphones - The Benefits of Music Therapy - Focus CareThe inclusion of music therapy can have positive outcomes for people in aged care settings, and in managing the cognitive and emotional effects of dementia. Research by the Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK, looked at its impacts on people living with dementia and found improvements in symptoms and a decline in behavioural issues. 

Our approach to dementia care uses Montessori techniques, which empowers clients to connect with previous interests and focuses on their strengths to maintain independence.. Music therapy can be used alongside Montessori methods to support memory loss. 

Music Therapy for Adults with Disabilities

Woman listens to music with over-ear headphones, smiling - The Benefits of Music Therapy - Focus CarePeople living with a range of disabilities can benefit from the use of music therapy. There are a multitude of positive effects, including sensory stimulation and the ability to improve physical and mental health, as well as emotional, cognitive and social wellbeing. 

Music therapy is often used as part of treatment for people living with:

  • Autism spectrum disorder

  • Physical disabilities

  • Intellectual and developmental disabilities

  • Traumatic brain injury patients

For those with severe disabilities, music therapy centres around interaction and communication. For those who may be able to work on other objectives, it focuses on things like enhancing decision-making skills. 

In terms of physical benefits, when used alongside physiotherapy, music therapy can enhance a person’s motor skills. 

Does Music Therapy Actually Work?

If you’re having doubts about the effectiveness of music therapy, it may be helpful for you to understand this health profession and the skills involved.

All Registered Music Therapists in Australia have successfully completed higher education courses accredited by the Australian Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and then applied for registration. They have the qualifications and skills required to ensure safe and effective results.

Their skills typically include:

  • A high level of musical ability

  • Creativity and imagination

  • Empathy

  • Communication

  • Patience

Music Therapy With Focus Care

If you are interested in the power of music therapy, we can help. Our Registered Music Therapists offer one-on-one as well as group music therapy sessions to our aged care, dementia care and disability support clients. If you have a Home Care Package or an NDIS Plan, music therapy sessions can be paid for within your budget. Our creative therapies can also be paid for privately

Music therapy does not require any prior experience with playing an instrument. Our qualified music therapists tailor the session to each client, based on their ability and preferences.

As always, we are here to answer your questions, or set up a no-obligation, complimentary care consultation. Contact us now. 

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