Below is a response to several readings and videos about music therapy:
Sometimes I feel as though music is my reason for living. I’m not a professional musician or really even heavily involved in music currently, but it’s a vital part of my life. Although I harbor dreams of being a performer, my wise mind knows that my temperament is not suited to the lifestyle led by aspiring actors, musicians, etc. However, I am still interested in incorporating music into my professional life, as well as my personal life. I’m currently completing a master’s degree in Interactive Telecommunications with a focus in Assistive Technology. Last spring I created two pieces of music technology for children with disabilities, which I found immensely rewarding. I’m currently interested in continuing to combine my undergraduate degree in psychology, my graduate degree in technology, and my lifelong passion for music into some kind of professional occupation, although I’m unsure what that will look like as this point. If I’m able, I may try to enter the Music Therapy program at NYU after completing my current degree.
I don’t have words to describe the intensity of emotion I can feel when listening to (and sometimes playing) music. I feel it physically in my chest and occasionally throughout my entire body. It can communicate feelings that words simply cannot. It makes perfect sense to me that music was such an effective way to connect with Herr G., John, and the patients in the psychiatric ward. I think because it seems so natural to me that music could be so powerful, I missed some of the “wow” effect that watching the video of Herr G. seemed to have on a lot of people. Mainly I was thinking, “Is this something I might want to do? How would I do it differently? What other applications could this have?” This leads me to want to education the world about the benefits of music therapy. Why is it not more widely recognized as such an important healing tool? If people could watch the videos of Herr G. and the other patients we watched, especially the young girl (I forget her name) who progressed so dramatically over the course of treatment, maybe music therapy would receive more attention.
In addition, I think that the diagnostic value of music therapy is especially overlooked. I was surprised by the description of the session with the young boy John and how much the therapist was able to determine from their session. He was able to observe speech and verbal cues, motor skills, communication styles, John’s response to cues, and his ability to express his needs (in this case a third stick to include in his dancing and playing). I would imagine that the music therapy session provided John’s parents with a great deal of hope that John was both capable of and had the willingness to communicate. He just wasn’t demonstrating that expressiveness verbally in the way that most children do by his age. I can absolutely relate to that personally. Sometimes I simply don’t want to communicate in the traditional, socially acceptable way. I also related to the girl who just played E over and over. If I remember correctly, it was unclear whether she had diminished mental capacity and was not able to play other notes or was just choosing to play E. Although I have no idea which was actually the case (or if it was a little of both), I remember instinctually feeling that it was a conscious choice, feeling very defensive of her and wanting to tell her, “If you just want to play E, just play E. There’s nothing wrong with that.“ Sometimes I would just play E, too. When so much is out of your control, anything you can do to assert your own wants and needs can be hugely important. Maybe that was not at all the case for the girl, but for me I was thinking about how awesome it is to sometimes just play E even if everyone around you wants you to play differently, play more, play something prettier. Fuck you! (Am I allowed to write that in a reflection paper?—sorry if that’s offensive). I don’t want to play any other notes. I get to say. I have control. I feel like just playing E. E. E. E. E. E. E. E. E. E. E.