It is a great pleasure to introduce everyone to Kimberly Sena Moore, MM, NMT, MT-BC. Kimberly and I became acquainted on Twitter, and I found myself so intrigued by her stated profession – Music Therapy – that I asked her to consider developing a series of guest posts – and she kindly accepted with great enthusiasm!
What is Music Therapy?
“So, what do you do?”
“I’m a music therapist.”
“Really? Music therapy? What’s that…?”
I have had that exchange hundreds of times, and have gotten pretty good at giving an “elevator pitch” on music therapy. It goes something like this:
“Well, we use music to help people. How we help them depends on whom we work with. We can use the rhythm in music to help a stroke victim re-learn how to walk and talk. We can use music and music-based experiences to help a child with autism practice pro-social skills and learn how to communicate. We can use music to help reduce pain and anxiety in cancer patients and to help trauma-influenced children heal.”
Most people, when they hear the words “music therapy” are curious and want to learn more. I feel this is because most of us are touched by music. We have deep emotional connections to certain songs. Maybe hearing a certain tune on the radio reminds you of your first love. We have our songs we turn to when we feel angry, sad, or happy. And music has deep cultural ties for us. What to you think of when you hear “Pomp and Circumstance” or “Here Comes the Bride”? Most people feel music’s influence and therefore have an intuitive understanding that music can be used as therapy.
So, what can it do for you or a loved one? Consider the following:
First, if you need any type of therapy (physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychotherapy, speech therapy), look into music therapy as an alternative, or complement, to what you are receiving. In the United States, you can find a music therapist through our certification board here. We can use music and music-based experiences to address the same goals other therapists target. It’s noninvasive, safe, and fun! And you do not need to be a musician to be involved in music therapy.
Be conscious about ways you can use music in your life. You can make specific decisions on how to use music to improve your overall wellness and quality of life and wellness. For example, listening to music you like can reduce stress. A report came out on CNN
recently about a doctor who used imaging techniques and found that listening to music you like opens up your blood vessels, improving circulation and reducing your stress level. Feeling stressed? Turn up your favorite tune!
Have kids? Enroll them in some sort of music lessons. This can be piano lessons, band class, choir, or orchestra. Study after study have shown that music training improves intelligence in a variety of ways: verbal skills, math skills, motor coordination, and memory functioning. Want your child to be a doctor or lawyer? Most medical and law schools really, really like having students who received a music degree.
Interested in learning more? A more thorough definition is available on my blog or here for more technical information Or, feel free to contact me. Happy listening!
Kimberly Sena Moore is a board-certified music therapist who specializes in trauma and attachment, neurorehabilitation, special needs, and medical therapy treatment. She has advanced training in Neurologic Music Therapy and is active in the music therapy professional locally, regionally, and nationally. Kimberly manages Neurosong Music Therapy Services, and blogs at www.MusicTherapyMaven.com. Or, you can follow her, as do I, on Twitter!