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Music Therapy: For Children, and the Elderly

Dr. T. V. Sairam

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Music Therapy: Technique for Children

Children are normally involved in singing, listening, moving, playing, and in all creative activities associated with music, which can even include solving mathematical puzzles!

The idea is that a child should be made into a better learner.

Music therapists work on developing a child’s self-awareness, confidence, readiness skills, coping skills, and social behavior and may also provide pain management techniques.

It is necessary that the therapists explore which styles of music, techniques and instruments are most effective or motivating for each individual child and thereafter, expand upon the child’s natural, spontaneous play in order to address areas of need.

Music therapists may also help parents of children with suggestions and resources for using music with the child at home.

After developing realistic goals and target objectives, music therapists can plan and implement systematic music therapy treatment programs with procedures and techniques designed specifically for the individual child.

Music therapists should invariably document responses, conduct ongoing evaluations of progress, and often make recommendations to other team members and the family regarding progress.

Music Therapy for Parents and Family Members

It is obvious that music therapy can extend enjoyable yet purposeful activities and resources for parents and other members of families to share with their children.

Families can learn to use music through meaningful play and nurturing experiences. Tensions and relaxations, questions and answers, ascending notes and descending notes — found in a musical piece can be profitably employed to stretch the children’s imagination, thereby making them more creative in their outlook.

Music therapy may also serve as a positive outlet for interaction among the members of the family, thereby relieving any differences or tensions among them, providing fun activities that can include parents, siblings, and extended family.

Often music therapy allows a family to see a child in a new light as the child’s strengths and brought out in the music therapy environment.

Music Therapy for the Elderly

Music therapy is as efficacious and valid with older persons as with children and families. As a form of sensory stimulation, music provokes in the elderly citizens. Responses due to the familiarity, predictability, and feelings of security associated with it.

Elders, who have functional deficits in physical, psychological, cognitive or social functioning thus find music as a dependable ‘old age companion’ par excellence. There is no generation-gap, no fear of losing relationships with music, say by separation, neglect or divorce!

Recent clinical research endorses the greater viability of music therapy even in those — like terminally ill patients- who may be resistive to other treatment approaches.

Music Therapy: Technique For the Elderly

Music therapists use music to facilitate movements (especially in elders who have problems such as arthritis etc) and changes, or to maintain functioning or the ‘feel-good’ levels, which contribute to life quality.

The therapeutic intervention is again, based on individual assessment, treatment planning, and ongoing program evaluation.

Programs could also be tailor-made to a group of elders, so that there is an attempt to make them interact in non-threatening environment.

In special circumstances, the therapy can be extended to bed-ridden patients as well to enable them ‘visualize’ the lighter side of their existence.

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