Music Therapy

Music therapy, which might have been scoffed at years ago, is gaining the respect of many.

This is a heartwarming example of music’s influence on an old man in a nursing home.  Before hearing the music of his era, he was dismal, and essentially lifeless.  After he was given the headphones, his face changed, and he reacted instantly.

Music therapy in nursing homes is merely the tip of the ice berg.  Recent studies by Educational Studies in Mathematics have proven that listening to music during math lessons improved children’s ability in the subject by about fifty percent.  The study was conducted at Hoover Elementary School with sixty-seven students.  The results proved that tapping out a rhythm can help children understand more complicated fractions.

Some schools in California have adopted this idea, and introduced Academic Music,” a ‘hands-on curriculum that uses music notation, clapping, drumming and chanting to introduce third-grade students to fractions.’   

On the same lines as complicated numbers, a biologist named Peter Larsen took a series of data and created a song in an attempt to convey it to people more easily.  The data produced very strange aspects of musical symmetry. 

You can listen to Larsen’s composition, “Key of Sea” online. 

Music therapy also has been effective in helping pregnant women cope with labor pains.  The Zanana Hospital in Udaipur, India uses religious music to ease tensions, bolster morale and promote a more positive atmosphere.  The doctors also use religious music to combat the growing issue of illegal termination of female babies. 

Psychologists have also concluded in an extensive study that music can greatly ease the emotional strain on adolescents.  Studies show that people between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five experience dramatic emotional highs and lows, which could lead to mental illness, and even suicides in some cases. 

Dr. Dingle from UQ’s School of Music developed a revolutionary program known as Tuned In after she noticed that teens spent a bulk of their time on their cell phones or MP3 players listening to music.  This program engages teens, and addressing the exploration and management of intense emotions. 

Further research shows that teenagers’ choice in music can reveal relevant information about their emotional state.

There have also been new developments in Autism treatment with music therapy.  SNACK NYC is an after school program in the city that promotes positive communication in a happy and safe environment for children with Autism.

SNACK NYC’s program is quite interesting though, because there is a large emphasis on music and the arts.  Local Bronx musician, Drew Torres was part of SNACK’s music therapy program.  Not only did he make significant connections with the children enrolled, but he also noted a positive change in the students’ coordination and behavior.  Drew Torres will be featured in a podcast-style interview on this blog in the next few weeks to talk more about SNACK NYC.

With the exponential growth in technology, we can expect more developments in music therapy in the future. 


"Green" Music

Music brings joys to the world, however some people could argue that the industry isn’t very ‘green.’ Carbon emissions from tour buses, plastic packaging on jewel cases, paper consumption for flyers, and even bottles and cans that go un-recycled during concerts are just the tip of the iceburg. CDs are made up of multiple non-biodegradable products that take hundreds of years to break down. These CDs litter land fills, and may contribute to global warming.

Fortunately, many musicians and organizations are working to fight this.

Barenaked Ladies, from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, are interested in the environment. They run their vehicles on biofuel to reduce carbon emissions. Over the course of Summer 2012, they also headlined the “Last Summer on Earth Tour,” during which they promoted alternative sources of energy

American musician, DJ, and photographer, Richard Melville Hall, more commonly known as Moby, supports PETA and the Humane Society. He also founded the Teany Cafe, which is a new York based Vegan Cafe. 

Pearl Jam created the Carbon Portfolio Strategy, which donated $100,000 to various organizations working on climate change and alternative energy. They also have an extensive list of their activism, and efforts to help the world on their homepage.

There are even some CD replication services that are trying to go green…or at least greener. Oasis Disc Manufacturing is a shining example. A bulk of their CDs are made with recycled cardboard sleeves, and cases in an effort to reduce their usage of plastic. 


Music may be leaving a larger carbon footprint than it should, but hopefully more musicians will hope on the green ‘band’ wagon, because the show can’t go on if there’s no planet left. 

And I think that’s enough music puns for one night.

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