Music Therapy Evidence In Neurodisability

Why is Music Therapy a scientifically robust and effective intervention in Neurodisability and Acquired Brain Injury?

 

1.  Music and the brain – a route to neuroplasticity

Music is processed across many areas of the brain, it involves, the auditory cortex (hearing and processing sound), motor cortex (conscious and unconscious movement), speech and language regions, the limbic system (emotions) and areas related to cognition and executive functioning.  Music engages and activates the brain on many levels, recruiting neurons from many regions to fire plus, affecting chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters). 

The brain in constantly remodelling itself, removing existing connections and forming new connections, there is strong evidence to suggest that music can facilitate this process of neuroplasticity strengthening and enabling new neural connections.  This is the science of music and the brain. 

 

2.  Music as an innate ability

The auditory (hearing) sense is the first to emerge and the last to decline in our life as human beings.  Non-verbal communication through sound is how we make our needs and emotional states known from birth.  Music is a universal language and an innate ability.

 

3.  Music as a cross-cultural social medium

Music is the oldest and most fundamental means of communication, it is present in the most primitive of societies as a means of group and individual expression, accompanying rituals throughout the lifespan.

 

4.  Music as a language of emotion

Music, with or without language, is able to convey emotional states and evoke emotional responses in the listener or performer.  Music activates the limbic regions of the brain, containing structures central to emotion processing and pleasure/reward.

 

Adapted from Magee and Baker (2009) 

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