Music and its healing powers have deep roots in ancient Greek, when Aesculapius was said to cure diseases of the mind by using song and music, and it was also used in Egyptian temples. Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle described music as a force that purified the emotions and believed that it can affect the soul and influence the character of an individual. In the United States, Native American medicine men often employed chants and dances as a method of healing patients. Since then, music therapy had been used in helping individuals with special needs and in some medical hospitals, cancer centers, schools, alcohol and drug recovery programs, psychiatric hospitals, and correctional facilities. Alzheimer’s and dementia are two of the diseases most commonly treated with music therapy, but it can also help patients who suffer from heart diseases, Schizophrenia and other neurological disorders as well as recovery of motor skills.
Music therapy can also help children with issues regarding communication, attention, and motivation, self-esteem, as well as with behavioral problems. Even more, an unborn child has a fully functional auditory system at twenty weeks after the conception and can hear sounds, like his mother’s heartbeat speed up, music and conversations. British researchers discovered that at the age of one, children recognize and express a preference for music they were exposed to in the womb.
Music is one of the strongest ways teenagers choose to express their feelings. They obtain many benefits from listening to music, including emotional, social, and daily life benefits, along with a sense of independence and individuality. Adolescents diagnosed with mood disorders can be helped through music therapy if they are referred to a therapist by a physician, therapist, or school counselor/teacher. There are many different music therapy techniques used with adolescents, but generally the therapy model is based on various theoretical backgrounds such as psychodynamic, behavioral, and humanistic approaches.