Playing music addresses a number of emotional, cognitive, and social issues for Mitra. It was used at the hospital where Mitra had a long stay during the first two years of her life and we could see that she enjoyed the healing benefits of music.
The process of making and listening to music provided us a channel for communication and expression that went beyond what could easily be expressed in words.
There has always been a connection between music and her emotion and we feel the ability of music to influence both her mental and physical health.
We have hired a music therapist who spends two hours a week with Mitra as we have no knowledge about playing instruments ourselves (even if I try hard to make some noises with her guitar or piano:))
She works one-on-one to help Mitra work through her problems in a non-verbal, musical way. The therapist begins by playing a tune herself while she sings and then she invites Mitra to join in (most of the times she does not even wait for the invitation)
Very often, we invite Mitra to listen to relaxing music to soothe stress and anxiety (different type of music and YouTube videos based on her mood and our own energy level). Through her responses, we measure her emotional well-being, physical and mental. We use that information to better understand the issues at hand and to consider future music plans.
We feel that our lack of musical capability has not so much to say about how we can give Mitra improving mood and relaxation with music. The purpose is to express ourselves through music by improvising and responding to the music in new ways, regardless of skill level.
How does music therapy work?
Music Therapy works on a number of different levels and in a number of different ways. It has been proven that music, especially pieces with a strong rhythmical element, can affect heart rate and breathing, and promote the release of endorphins, or natural painkillers. It has also been shown to reduce muscle tension, and can be very helpful in promoting relaxation. Music can also be helpful in releasing memories or negative feelings that may have been repressed, which can help to change behaviors and affect behavioral issues. Playing music can also improve skills such as communication and physical coordination [Encyclopedia of Healing Therapies by Anne Woodham and Dr. David Peters].
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