Prescription for Music
One of the most common questions I get asked is, “what music should I listen to for relaxation?” Or pain management. Or cancer treatments. Or anxiety. The list goes on, but you get my drift. Don’t get me wrong– I’m glad folks are turning to me to address this need! The difficulty lies in explaining that there is no “perfect” song that will cure what ails you. It’s not as easy as when the doctor gives you penicillin for an ear infection and says you’ll feel better by tomorrow. So much more goes into music than that!
Which is why you may need to consult a board certified music therapist (like me!). We have been trained and educated to know all about music. We conduct an evaluation on every client/patient we see, determine their needs, and develop a specialized treatment plan based on all the information we’ve gathered from them and about them. And we develop a therapeutic relationship with each individual and use our clinical judgment to make suggestions and recommendations concerning the best music to use with each person.
Now, you might be saying, “That sounds like a whole lot of work just to suggest a few songs for pain management.”
It’s only *music*– what’s the big deal?
But it *is* a big deal. Music is, and can be, powerful on so many levels. I’ve heard a woman sing who hadn’t spoken in years, and I’ve watched a highly agitated woman calm down and fall asleep to her favorite songs. Some of my current clients have had enormous emotional and psychological breakthroughs during our music sessions. Music can be used to soothe, calm, invigorate, motivate, and– yes– agitate and irritate. (There are reports of music being used as “torture” in some situations. And name one teenager who doesn’t occasionally turn up the volume a little to aggravate their parents).
At its’ very foundation, I believe music is expression.
It begins when someone needs to say or express something but cannot find the words. Because each of us has something unique to express, we choose different ways to do so. If it’s a beautiful sunny spring morning, I might choose “Here Comes the Sun” as my song for that moment. My husband, who might also be enjoying the same joyful feelings I am, would probably choose a completely different song. And my sister would choose another different song for that same moment. And you, dear readers, yet another different song(s).
My point being that if I played “Here Comes the Sun” for you and said that it was the perfect illustration of a beautiful sunny spring day– you might not agree because it’s not *your* expression of a nice spring day. My song choice might be close enough to your song choice that it doesn’t make a big difference in how you feel, but it might irritate you and possibly change your mood and/or behavior. That’s why it’s so important for me to know my clients so I can accurately provide them with music experiences that match where they are and what they’re experiencing.
Moral of the story– choose your music carefully. And call me if you need help with that. I’m always happy to answer questions!