About the Author: Ann Dinsmore is the director of music therapy at the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown.
Has a song ever triggered a flood of memories so vivid you remembered every detail of an experience? Has rhythm ever stimulated your body to move, dance, or exercise much longer than you expected? Has a song ever released a sequence of lyrics you didn’t realize you knew or emotion you didn’t expect? If so, you have experienced the therapeutic power of music … power that board certified music therapists harness and use in their work every day at Masonic Villages.
If YOU have experienced the therapy of music, then you can imagine how beneficial it is for individuals with physical, cognitive, emotional, spiritual and/or social needs. According to the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), group and individual music therapy provides opportunities for:
- Positive changes in mood and emotional states
- Positive physiological changes such as lower blood pressure, reduced heart rate, and relaxed muscle tension
- Memory recall which contributes to reminiscence and life satisfaction
- Reduction of stress and anxiety and the management of pain, sometimes with decreased need for medication
- Stimulation of interest, awareness of environment, and increased attention
- Activation of motor neurons which promote ordered movement and speech, as well as improved circulation
- Social interaction and emotional intimacy with others, meaningful time spent together in positive, creative ways
- Verbal and non-verbal expression
Professionally trained music therapists know that music is not a “one-size fits all” intervention, and they work very hard to provide the right music at the right time in the right way. They also base their work on research, including studies which reveal the importance of preference, familiarity, cultural and community considerations, and the tendency to engage most fully with music enjoyed in our young adult years. Music therapists choose music intentionally, based on relationships with their clients.
The music therapists at Masonic Village believe there is music in everyone, and that rhythm and good vibrations can be powerful, lifelong connections. For more information about music therapy and the services offered by board certified music therapists, visit www.musictherapy.org.