Healing With Music

Sing Daily, Write Often, Listen Always

What is the Difference between Therapeutic Music and Music Therapy?

Dear Lord, we thank you for this place, where many come to seek your grace, and offer up their thanks to thee in love and grateful harmony.
— “This Place,” Raven Hunter

Therapeutic Music requires nothing from the patient.

 It is not interactive, except in the most basic way - that of music being played and heard. It has no goal to do anything but offer healing sounds which, if applied according to the training, will have a healing effect. It is always live music.  The words associated with healing include ‘wholeness’, ‘balance’, ‘inside out’, ‘sense of peace’, ‘re-ease’ and ‘person-centered.’

Therapeutic Music is a term used as a new way of distinguishing bedside therapeutic music from interactive music therapy. It has been used and practiced - in an official capacity and distinguished from Music Therapy  -  for the last 15 or 20 years. The training and internship is intensive, and the focus is more spiritual with an emphasis on learning and observing which modes and rhythms have what effect. It differs from entertainment, which involves expectations, a standard of virtuosity, an inevitable separation of sorts from the audience and is a one time event, by being other-centered, having no expectations, potentially ongoing, and having a sense of connectedness. It makes use of the fact that humans are ‘open systems’.

Music Therapy involves the patient through exercises, games, conversation, etc.

It is very interactive, has goals and requirements for the patients, and is concerned with curing. It is particularly helpful for those undergoing rehabilitation. It usually uses recorded music. The words associated with curing include ‘symptom-free’, ‘procedures’, ‘outside in’, ‘dis-ease free’ and ‘doctor-centered’.

Music Therapy as practiced today began developing after the World Wars, particularly in the United Kingdom, when musicians would travel to hospitals and play music for soldiers suffering from war-related emotional and physical trauma. At some point certain musicians began devising interventional methods of using music in exercises with patients to achieve certain kinds of outcomes, using activities like games and sing-a-longs, particularly helpful with patients in need of rehabilitation.