Brianna class that was centered around exploring the field

Brianna Higgins
This semester I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Wiggins
in a special topics class that was centered around exploring the field of
Music Therapy. During my time in the class, I researched the meaning,
history, and various aspects of Music Therapy. I also had the privilege of
working with Mariah Adkins, who serves as the coordinator of the Music and
Memory program at the Elizabeth and Tab Williams Adult Day Center located
in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This paper will reflect what I have
learned and observed this semester. I will define the term music therapy,
provide a brief overview of the history of the practice, and look at the
role of music therapy in various aspects.


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Definition and History”Music
is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the
imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” -PlatoThe American Music Therapy
Association defines music therapy as, “the clinical and evidence-based use
of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic
relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music
therapy program.” Music therapy is a profession similar to occupational
and physical therapy. It consists of using music therapeutically to address
physical, psychological, cognitive, and/or social functioning. In other terms,
music therapists use music to attain non-musical goals for people in
therapeutic settings, which include but are not limited to schools, hospitals,
and private healthcare facilities. Because music therapy is a powerful and
non-threatening agent, exceptional outcomes are possible. In music therapy,
each client is provided with support and encouragement in the attainment of new
skills and abilities. It is understood that music touches individuals in
various ways, and because of this participation in music therapy provides
opportunities for learning, artistry, and expression that may be notably different
from standard educational/therapeutic measures.One might ask, “How did the
field of music therapy come to be?” The idea of music as healing influence
that could affect health and behavior is as old as the writings of Aristotle
and Plato. This twentieth-century profession got its start after World War I
and WWII when the local musicians of all types (amateur and professional), went
to Veterans hospitals from around the country to perform for the thousands of
veterans suffering from both physical and emotional trauma from the wars. The
patients’ exceptional physical and emotional responses to music led doctors and
nurses to request the hiring of musicians by the hospitals. It soon became
apparent that the hospital musicians required prior training before entering
the facilities. As such, the demand for a college curriculum came to fruition.
A concise historical view of this profession is as follows.The earliest known reference to
music therapy was in 1789 in an anonymous article in Columbian Magazine titled
“Music Physically Considered.” 
During the early 1800s, writings on the therapeutic value of music
appeared in two medical dissertations, the first published by Edwin Atlee
(1804), and the second by Samuel Mathews (1806). Atlee and Mathews were students
of Dr. Benjamin Rush, a doctor, and psychiatrist who was a strong advocate of
using music to treat medical diseases. The 1800s also saw the first recorded
systematic experiment in music therapy (Corning’s use of music to alter dream
states during psychotherapy). Attraction to music therapy continued to gain
support during the early 1900s, leading to several short-lived associations
such as the National Society of Musical Therapeutics (1903), the National
Association for Music in Hospitals (1926), and the National Foundation of Music
Therapy (1941). All of which contributed to the first journals, books, and
educational courses for music therapy, however were not able to cultivate an
organized clinical profession. In the 1940s, three persons emerged as innovators
and key assets in the development of music therapy as an organized clinical
profession. Music
Therapy for Young Children and EducationFor young children, music therapy
provides opportunities for growth and development while engaging in a motivational
musical experience. Music stimulates all of the senses and involves children at
many levels. For families with young children, music therapy creates
interactive experiences where families learn and incorporate meaningful musical
play into their lives. Although there are many goals and outcomes of music
therapy for young children, the main focus is centered around development and
healthy growth. In the classroom, music therapy helps aid in the teaching
processes. It is a known fact that not everyone learns the same. As a teacher,
it can be difficult to come up with a lesson plan that accommodates everyone’s
needs. Music provides both music therapists and teachers a way to get everyone
involved and interacting with the lesson, even those with learning disabilities.
Some feel that providing music
therapy services in the school setting is unnecessary and a waste of funds.
However, when you look at the benefits of music therapy programs in school
settings it is clear that it provides more benefits than just having standard
educational curriculums. According to Public Law 94-142 (Education for All
Handicapped Children Act) later renamed the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA), students with special education needs are entitled to the
same educational opportunities as their average developing peers. The thought
of providing education in the “least restrictive environment” means
that every student, regardless of disability, should receive full access to the
general education curriculum. As a result, students with more severe learning
disabilities are now included in general education classrooms, not only to
fulfill academic needs but to increase socialization. In students with special
education needs, music therapists typically use music activities to promote the
development of motor, communication, cognitive, and social abilities. Music
therapy can be used to address many goals targeted in the Individual Education
Program (IEP). Through creating, singing, moving, and listening to music, a
vast range of cognitive, emotional, and physical abilities are brought to
focus.  Nationwide, hundreds of
credentialed music therapists are currently employed at local school districts
and private educational centers.Music
Therapy for Senior CitizensAs the human body ages, different
areas of the body begin to change. Bones and joints, eyes and ears, digestive
and metabolic, dental, even the skin begins to change in the golden years. With
all these changes there is one that stands out and strikes fear into people everywhere:
the brain. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, as of 2017 more than 5
million American are living with Alzheimer’s disease. They estimate that by
2050, this number could rise to a whopping 16 million. Alzheimer’s Disease is
the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. In 2016
caregivers provided an estimated 18.2 billion hours of care valued at over $230
billion dollars. Currently more than 15 million American provide unpaid care
for people with Alzheimer’s or other Dementias. These facts shed some light on
the growing issue that is Alzheimer’s disease and other Dementias. Music Therapy
services have been proven to help seniors restore and maintain their health, as
well as help them recall memories and fight depression.  One of the largest growing programs for
senior citizens is the Music and Memory program. The Music and Memory program
allows those suffering from Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and other forms of
cognitive impairment, the ability to reconnect with past memories through personalized
digital music. Clients are given iPods and headsets that are loaded with a
personalized playlist that they have access to at any time.One of the biggest advocators of
this program is the documentary Alive Inside. Filmmaker Michael
Rossato-Bennett follows the experiences of individuals around the country who
have been revitalized simply through listening to music. The film reveals the
human connection people find in music and how its healing power can help where
medicine fails. The documentary follows many healthcare professionals including
social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music and
Memory, as he fights against a broken healthcare system to showcase music’s
ability to fight memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those
suffering from it. The film also shows interviews with experts where they offer
their expertise on the impact of music.I had the opportunity to see the
program in action during my time at the Williams Adult Day Center of Senior
Services, Inc.  Mariah Adkins, the
head of the department, explained that even though it was a fairly new program
at the center, she had already witnessed the benefits of having the program.
Even though the program is designed to stimulate memories, it is also used to
improve mood, and decrease agitation. At the center, if a patient is having a bad
day, nurses will often time request Mariah to step in. During these times she
allows the patient to listen to their personal iPod and most often their whole
mood changes. The Williams Center has other music activities as well, generally
on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Tuesdays, they have activities such as Kevin on
the Keys and Drumming with John (a crowd favorite). During the drumming
activity, the facilitator (John) comes in with percussion instruments and together;
he and the patients are able to play amazingly intricate rhythms. This activity,
in particular, promotes socialization and movement. Thursdays are normally set
aside for kinder music. Kids and parents come in and with the assistance of the
patients, they learn and create nursery rhymes. This also promotes
socialization, but it also gives the patients a sense of normalcy. Music therapy treatment has proven
to be beneficial to senior citizens who have functional deficits in physical,
psychological, cognitive, or social functioning. Research and clinical
experiences attest to the viability of music therapy even in those who do not
allow other treatment approaches. Music therapy for senior citizens is a form
of sensory stimulation, which provokes responses because of the familiarity and
feelings of security associated with it.Music
Therapy and MedicineMusic Therapy has been proven to be
an effective and valid treatment option for medical patients with a number of
diagnoses. Music therapy can be used to address needs related to respiration,
chronic pain, physical rehabilitation, diabetes, headaches, cardiac conditions,
surgery, and obstetrics, just to name a few. The programs are based on
individual assessment, treatment planning, and ongoing program evaluations.
Music therapists implement programs with groups or individuals addressing an
infinite number of outcomes, including reduction of pain and anxiety, stress
management, communication, and emotional expression. Music therapists offer
services in medical hospitals, skilled and intermediate care facilities,
rehabilitation hospitals, adult day care centers, senior centers, hospices,
psychiatric treatment centers, and in drug and alcohol programs. In the medical
setting, music therapists work in many different hospital units, including ICU,
NICU, physical rehabilitation, and outpatient programs. Some therapists are
self-employed and work on the basis of independent contracts, while others are
salaried hospital employees.ConclusionMusic Therapy is a field that cannot
be confined to one specific area. It assists the young, the old, the well, the
sick, and everything in-between. Music therapists assist a vast number of
fields by using music to attain non-musical goals for people in therapeutic
settings. Music therapy is a powerful and non-threatening agent, in which
exceptional outcomes are possible. In music therapy, each client is provided
with support and encouragement in the attainment of new skills and abilities.
Music touches individuals in various ways, and because of this participation in
music therapy provides opportunities for learning, artistry, and expression
that may be notably different from standard educational/therapeutic measures.Music Therapy is still a fairly new
field; however, it continues to grow and make advancements in the medical
field. It is truly amazing when you look at how much the field has accomplished
in the short amount of time it has been around. This semester I have learned a
lot; from the meaning of music therapy to numerous capacities in which music
therapist work. I want to thank Dr. Wiggins for all of her time and effort she
put into making sure I had the information and help/experience I needed. I
would also like to thank Mrs. Mariah Adkins and the Williams Adult Day Center
for allowing me to work with them. This semester has ignited a fire in me to
learn all I can about this field even outside of the classroom. My research is
not done. I plan to go more in depth and expand this paper as I continue to
learn.           ReferencesAlive inside Video file. (n.d.).Alive Inside. (n.d.).
Retrieved December 12, 2017, from Music Therapy
Association. (n.d.). Retrieved December 12, 2017, from, M. R. (2018).
Music Therapy in Educational Settings. Music Therapy: Research and
Evidence-Based Practice,29-45. doi:10.1016/b978-0-323-48560-9.00003-6How to Use Music to
Teach Appropriate Classroom Behavior. (n.d.). Retrieved December 12, 2017, from, M. R. (2012,
January 09). Music Therapy in Early Childhood Classrooms. Retrieved December
12, 2017, from Alzheimer’s
Facts and Figures. (2016, March 29). Retrieved December 12, 2017, from Therapy for
Seniors | ASC Blog. (2015, November 19). Retrieved December 12, 2017, from, E. (2001). Music
Therapy – History and Cultural Contexts. Voices: A World Forum for Music
Therapy,1(3). doi:10.15845/voices.v1i3.66Williams Adult Day
Center. (n.d.). Retrieved December 12, 2017, from