Music Teachers and Music Therapists: Helping Children Together Author(s): Allyson Patterson Source: Music Educators Journal, Vol. 89, No. 4 (Mar., 2003), pp. 35-38 Published by: MENC: The National Association for Music Education Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3399902 Accessed: 11/11/2008 18:08
This article helps to clearly define music therapy and how it helps clients by using music and sound to improve their mental and physical health. The American Music Therapy Association defines it as “the prescribed use of music by a qualified person to effect positive changes in the physiological, physical, cognitive, or social functioning of individuals…”
The author devotes a lot of time discussing the difference between a music educator and a music therapist which most of us music specialists are aware of (educators teach/instruct on the activity of performing music and therapists use musical means to address disease or disorder in clients). Nevertheless, the distinction between the two is crucial.
Much like the article I mentioned in my other blog, music therapists use music as a tool to strengthen a functional area of a client’s life through “participation in musical experiences”. As in the other blog, this therapy uses cognitive rather than a physiological associations to music in order to build skills. It is not that they are exposed to music and suddenly they are cured; it is through performing and listening to music that clients associate the music to a function or skill.
Clients/students use songs to learn and retain information, and therapists address non-musical goals/needs through participation in musical activities. For example, clients may learn the process of tying a shoelace through the use of a song. It is also mentioned that students retained more information from music or song based sources than from regular speech-based sources. This resonated with me if only that I believe most of us can recall a nursery rhyme faster than we can recall what we had for breakfast.