• Steve Boatwright

Listen to the Music...

I've been playing music for 57 years, yes, I'm an old fart. But in my head, I still feel young, especially when I'm playing and performing with my great band! One thing I enjoy the most is watching the people in the audience having a fun time. They're singing along, clapping their hands, dancing, and best of all, forgetting about all their problems, at least for a while. Music is a big part of my healing and it has been since I was in the hospital.

I remember the euphoric feeling I had when I first sang just a few days after my stroke. It was when the nurse came into the room to check on me, and I asked her if she wouldn't mind if I sang to her. She was a bit shocked at the question but shook it off and said, sure go ahead. So I started singing her one of my favorite Doobie Brothers songs, Listen to the Music. After I was done she looked at me with a smile on her face and said, Wow, you can really sing! That experience not only showed me that I could still belt out a song but also helped me to feel energetic and more mentally alert.

There's something about music that is healing and I want to share with you an example of what I mean. After a stroke, many survivors may experience Aphasia. This is a disorder that impairs a person’s ability to understand language. Aphasia can limit a person’s ability to write, read, or speak.

However, even though a stroke may compromise a victim’s language skills, many survivors are finding a new method for communicating: singing. Although being able to sing may seem like a bizarre treatment method for stroke survivors, research tells us it can help victims of aphasia also relearn how to talk.

Music therapy is a profession that has been used medically for over 60 years, yet many people still don’t really know what it is. Music therapy doesn’t refer to teaching a patient how to play an instrument – that would be music education. Instead, music therapy is about using musical techniques to accomplish specific goals related to cognitive, speech, and motor functioning. As with cases of aphasia, music therapy can involve a patient singing. Moving to music can also help a person achieve goals that involve using their motor functions. And listening to music can improve cognitive functions and also improve one’s mood. Perhaps the earliest account of the healing properties of music appears in the Jewish bible. In it, the story was that David, a skilled musician, could cure King Saul’s depression through music (Greenberg, 2017). This was told in Chapter 16 in Prophets:

“And it happened that whenever the spirit of melancholy from God was upon Saul, David would take the lyre (harp) and play it. Saul would then feel relieved and the spirit of melancholy would depart from him” (1 Samuel, 16:23).

Go ahead, Listen to the Music, or better yet sing it now...

Oh, oh, listen to the music

Oh, oh, listen to the music

Oh, oh, listen to the music All the time

Wow, you can really sing!

If you are interested in Music Therapy you can contact;

American Music Therapy Association website. The Certification Board for Music Therapists website. World Federation of Music Therapy website

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