Julia Hall & Besnik Abrashi
Why Study Music Therapy?
We chose to study this topic because we love music and are interested in how music can be used to benefit people who struggle from physical, cognitive, or emotional disorders. Music can be used as a treatment for alleviating pain, enhancing memory, emotional support, and many more!
What Exactly is Music Therapy?
Music is used for therapeutic solutions on people with disorders, ranging from relieving prenatal stress in pregnant women to stimulating growth in autistic children to alleviating symptoms related to dementia or amnesia. Music Therapy has also been shown to have positive effects on patients with schizophrenia or major depressive disorder; by simply creating, singing or listening to music, one can reduce anxiety, strengthen memory, and improve overall cognitive functioning.
What's Happening in The Brain?
Music rhythms require little to no voluntary cognitive or mental processing, and influence the motor center of the brain, which responds directly to auditory and rhythmic cues. Studies have shown that simply listening to music affects the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus; music used as therapeutic solutions are also known to help with Alzheimer's, as well as handling stress, improving communication, and promoting physical rehabilitation.
What Experiments Have Been Done?
In a study conducted by William Klemm, test scores were compared between an individual who studied while listening to classical music and an individual who studied while listening to their preferred genre of music. He found that students tested better after studying with their preferred music; people with more musical experience learned better with neutral music but tested better with pleasurable music, and the opposite was observed in people without music training.
More Interesting Stuff!
Depending on the person and their willingness to cooperate, the effects of pleasurable music have been shown to increase test scores and help learning, whether individuals were experienced or not. It has also been seen to improve memory, bring back emotions, help dementia patients, shift mood, manage stress and stimulate positive interactions between individuals.