THE HEALING POWER OF MUSIC
The Healing Power of Music
Since the earliest days of humankind, the power of music has been evident to us. From its ceremonial origin to modern medical usage for personal motivation, concentration, and shifting mood, music is a powerful balm for the human soul. Music can affect a client’s attention, emotion, cognition, behavior, and communication (Koelsch et al,.2009) Music has become such an incredible therapeutic tool doctors are now recommending music for numerous conditions including anxiety, heart-related disorders and insomnia.
A study at McGill University in Canada revealed that listening to agreeable music encourages the production of beneficial brain chemicals, specifically the “feel good” hormone known as dopamine. Dopamine happens to be an integral part of brain’s pleasure-enhancing system. As a result, music leads to great feeling of joy and bliss. It’s not only listening to music that has a positive effect on stress and depression. The Namm Foundation has compiled a comprehensive list of benefits of playing music, which includes reducing stress on both the emotional level and the molecular level.
Studying Music Boosts Brain Development in Young Children
A research-based study undertaken at the University of Liverpool in the field of neuroscience has light to shed on the beneficial effects of early exposure to music. According to the findings, even half an hour of musical training is sufficient to increase the flow of blood in the brain’s left hemisphere, resulting in higher levels of early childhood development.
Music Education Helps Children Improve Reading Skills
Journal Psychology of Music reports that “Children exposed to a multi-year program of music tuition involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal, and practical skills display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared with their non-musically trained peers.” In the initial stages of learning and development, music arouses auditory, emotional, cognitive and visual responses in a child. Music also aids a child’s kinesthetic development. According to the research-supported evidence, a song facilitates language learning far more effectively than speech.
Music Therapy for Children
The following information about the use of music therapy with children is provided by the Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service. (n.d.)
Music therapy can be a useful way to meet the various psychosocial needs of children, though engagement in song-writing and improvisation. It can provide children with opportunities for self-expression, communication, and a way to identify their strengths, providing a way for them to maintain a sense of self-esteem.
For children, a music therapist can use live, familiar music in conjunction with physical, social and cognitive activities to stimulate development.
Our goal at Harmony Hope Stables is to provide music therapy to achieve the objectives that meet the needs of the individuals. This may include improving motor function, social skills, emotions, coordination, self-expression and personal growth.
Common goals in music therapy, as identified by Everyday Harmony (n.d.) are the development of:
- Communication skills (using vocal/verbal sounds and gestures)
- Social skills (making eye contact, turn-taking, initiating interaction, and self-esteem)
- Sensory skills (fine and gross motor control and movement)
- Cognitive skills (concentration and attention, imitation, and sequencing)
- Emotional skills (expression of feelings non-verbally)
WHAT IS EAL (EQUINE ASSISTED LEARNING)?
Benefits of EAL:
Learn to set healthy boundaries
Development of trust
Teamwork and Leadership
Critical thinking & creative problem solving
Improvements in self control
Increased self-esteem and confidence
Building social skills
Improved listening skills