Midweek Mental Greening
At some point, you’ve probably heard someone say, “Music is my therapy.” Actually, you’ve probably heard a lot of people say it.
What you might not have heard as often is, “Dave Matthews Band is my own personal anti-depressant.” For me, it’s true. Whether I’m feeling sad, angry, apathetic, or even hopeless, I can pop in a DMB CD and, I swear, within the first few seconds not only can I physically feel how much better I mentally feel, but sometimes all even feels right with the world again.
When my sister gave me DMB concert tickets for Christmas last month, she may as well have handed me sunshine in a bottle.
Music is a powerful tool when it comes to our moods (I know – common sense, right?). Whether we’re playing it or listening to it, music can help relieve stress, soothe anxiety and boost energy. It’s no surprise, then, that Michigan State University founded the first music therapy degree program in 1944 and “professional” music therapy (i.e. not just listening to your favorite jam when you’re feeling blue) has been going strong for more than 60 years.
In case you don’t know much about music therapy, here are a few points of interest from the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA):
- Music therapy can consist of both listening to and actually making music.
- It can benefit everyone from children to seniors, and in addition to people with mental health, learning, and developmental problems, music therapy can benefit healthy folks, individuals with brain or physical injuries, and people experiencing pain.
- The practice of music therapy often is used in schools, hospitals, psychiatric facilities, and nursing homes.
- Music therapists are for real. After completing music therapy curricula in college, aspiring music therapists can try to earn the music therapist board-certified credential (MT-BC). (Which means I don’t have the professional credentials to tell you to get some DMB on your iPod, even though I still think you should…).
- Under certain conditions, Medicare may cover music therapy. In a few states, Medicaid may include music therapy under a waiver program or existing treatment category. Some private health insurance providers even include music therapy coverage.
And music as a therapy tool is pretty darn green, for both our bodies and the planet – don’t you think? There are no chemicals to ingest, musical instruments tend to be passed down and reused until the keys pop off (just ask my old junior high band teacher), and even though it takes a good bit of natural gas, crude oil, and water to manufacture CDs (not to mention something like a million years for one CD to completely decompose – seriously, I’m not making it up), CDs are recyclable.
So, what are your thoughts on using music as therapy? Have any of you had experience with professional music therapy? Or, if not, how do you use music yourself to brighten – or soothe – your moods? Any special songs or bands you want to share?