We all listen to music when we want to hear our emotions. When we are feeling sad, we listen to slow-paced songs, and when we are happy, we listen to songs with fast tempos. In the end, we can all agree that we have used music therapy at some point in our lives.
But what is Music Therapy exactly?
According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy is “the clinical and evidence-based use of musical interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship.” Basically, music therapy is a type of therapy which aims to reduce stress by utilizing music, songs, and movement.
In a music therapy session, therapists utilize activities such as singing, composing, and improvising music to minimize stress for the client. Other intervention techniques can include playing instruments or listening to music. Music therapy rarely relies on communication, which makes it accessible to those who are nonverbal.
Overall, music therapy has proven to provide a wide range of benefits. Some of these include improved self-esteem, decreased anxiety, and increased motivation. The practice is extremely effective in children and older adults, as well.
But Why Music Therapy?
Other than its benefits, today — March 1 —is music therapy day! If you didn’t know this, now is your chance to celebrate. Instead of going to a concert, you can opt to host a music night with a bunch of friends or family. Or even better, you can try to play some music therapy games.
Here are five activities you can try:
1. Lyric Analysis.
We pay so much attention to the rhythm of a song to the point where we forget about the lyrics. To begin, pick a song that you resonate with, and print the lyrics. Then analyze the meaning and the songwriter’s message behind the phrases.Tell other participants to analyze the same song as well, then see what they come up with.
2. Draw It Out.
Grab a blank piece of paper and select a random song from a playlist. As the song is playing, try to draw the singer’s emotions on paper. What do you hear? What do you feel? Be sure to draw some emotions as well.
3. Compose Your Own Song.
Another effective music therapy activity is to compose your own song. If you’re a fan of writing and poetry, you’ll feel naturally inclined to writing your emotions on paper. Sure, a song is different from an article. But at the end, you can add your own tune and rhythm to it.
4. Play ‘Guess the Song.’
This is a fun game that is suitable for anyone at any age. Basically, you gather a whole group of people and take turns playing your favorite songs. You just have to play one part of the song and see who can guess the correct title.
If you want to get extra competitive, you can develop a point system. Whoever guesses the song the quickest can earn a point, and whoever has the most points by the end of the game can win a free dinner.
5. Match the Lyrics
To prepare for this game, you will select two lines from a song and break it into two parts. You will then cut out the two parts and put them in separate envelopes. For example, let’s say that the song I choose is “Save Your Tears” by The Weeknd. The lines I choose are “Take me back ‘cause I wanna stay/Save your tears for another.” I will split the “Take me back ‘cause I wanna stay” and put it in one envelope. The next line; “Save your tears for another,” will go in another envelope.
You should choose lines from at least ten different songs.
After, you place the envelopes on different sides of the room. If you’re playing with four people, divide them in groups of two and ensure that each group member is on different sides of the room.
When you say “go,” the participants will have to work together to match the lyrics. They can take the envelope and analyze the words together, and see which phrases they identify from which songs.
Though Music Therapy Day happens on March 1, you can continue playing these games whenever you feel like it. If you have tried these activities, comment which one you like and recommend the most! After all, we’ve got to cut ourselves some slack and blast some music.
Photo by Derek Truninger on Unsplash
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