Music is for Everyone!
Updated: Oct 8
I spend a LOT of my time as a Board-Certified Music Therapist talking about music therapy. If a handyperson comes to fix my broken doorknob, they notice all the instruments in my living room - music therapy. If I take a rideshare and someone asks me what I do for a living. - music therapy. If I’m having a game night with friends and the conversation turns to music or science or I see any connection – music therapy! Usually, conversations about music therapy lead into a brief explanation of the clinical applications of music I’ve recently used, and how music can support clients in achieving their clinical goals when applied by a MT-BC.
To briefly explain clinical goals and clinical applications of music:
clinical goals are created as a way to best support an individual to enhance their quality of life in some way.
This could mean using music to provide access to an educational curriculum, to support motor skills, or to improve coping skills. From there, a MT-BC applies music with intention in order to support a client to achieve their goals. This might mean using a musical mnemonic device to support memory and learning, using a specific type of rhythmic music to decrease freezing episodes in unfamiliar terrain, or engaging in songwriting about feelings that are challenging to navigate.
These are all ways I have used music to support clients, which is amazing! It gets me up in the morning to think about new ways to use music to support people in the development of their extra musical skills.
Recently though, I’ve been very interested in all the ways that people use music to support themselves outside of a clinical context.
One thing I really like are playlists. If you go to a very famous fruit inspired music conglomerate, you’ll see playlist after playlist after playlist. There are playlists for your mood, playlists to transport you to another time or place and even playlists for any activity you may be doing. Intuitively, we as people are so interconnected with music that we use it for all occasions! Because all of our brains light up in response to music, we can all benefit from listening to music and interacting with it. While we listen to music we enjoy, our brains release dopamine and oxytocin, which can elevate our mood and help us to feel connected! That’s an amazing way to use music any day of the week!
Another great way to engage with music outside of the music therapy session is to take up an instrument. Learning an instrument has so many amazing benefits, that it could really be a whole separate blog. Learning an instrument actually makes our brains more efficient because both sides of the brain are in constant communication when we press even one key, sing one note, or hit a drum! Learning an instrument also provides us with a sense of accomplishment when we work through mistakes and make adaptations to improve. So even spending a few hours a week playing an instrument can be a huge support.
Overall, interacting with music can benefit us because our brains really respond to music as a stimulus. Outside of the clinical environment, we can all use music to support ourselves and enrich our lives. As a MT-BC I use music with intentionality to support specific goals and objectives for my clients, but we can all use music on an individual level every single day. I encourage anyone and everyone to engage with music as much as possible because music is for everyone!
If you are interested in learning more about how to incorporate more music into your day, or the clinical use of music within the context of music therapy, comment below or reach us through our website chat!
Check out my Open Studio presentation on this topic here!