I’ve had the privilege of teaching beginning piano to children, adults of all ages and people with developmental disabilities. I’ve experienced their joy as they discover making music by something as simple as touching black and white keys. I can see their bright and dancing eyes when they play their first recognizable song. (Memory flash: One retired first time piano student brought me a bag of Hershey Kisses to show me how grateful he was for teaching him how to play.)
Besides my work with students with developmental disabilities, I’ve not specifically been involved with the field of music therapy. When Keith and I attended the University of Minnesota many years ago, music therapy was an innovative, fledgling degree program. Today, it is successfully used world-wide.
According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy interventions can be designed to:
• Promote Wellness
• Manage Stress
• Alleviate Pain
• Express Feelings
• Enhance Memory
• Improve Communication
• Promote Physical Rehabilitation
I recently read the story of Bill Forester, a 55 year old college professor who had a stroke and lost his ability to speak. (The teacher in me identifies with the importance and joy of speaking.) Through music therapy, which includes exercising his hands on the piano and singing, his skills have been restored. He is “talking up a storm.” Click here to see a video about him.
I haven’t needed professional music therapy but I can see how playing piano has been therapeutic for me. Another form of my “music therapy” over the past thirteen years has been ballroom dancing with Keith. Our wonderful, older Romanian dance teacher frequently reminded us of the benefits of dancing – spirit, soul and body.
Whether playing an instrument, singing or dancing, music is a vital part of a healthy life. Are you incorporating music into your life on a consistent basis? If you have had an experience with music therapy, especially through piano, I would love to hear about it. You can comment below for others to see or you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please notice that you can subscribe to my weekly blog by clicking on the “Follow” icon at the lower right hand corner of this page.
Life is Grand