Does Music Therapy Work?


this video is sponsored by Tab For A Cause! hey, welcome to 12tone! this week’s guest
video is by Micah from Neuro Transmissions, who usually talks all about psychology and
the human brain, but this time he’s talking about music. plus psychology and the human brain. gotta stay on brand. before we get started, quick content warning:
this video includes a brief discussion of a shooting. there’s nothing gruesome or gory, but I just
wanted to give you a heads-up. anyway, take it away, Micah! On January 8th, 2011, Representative Gabby
Giffords was speaking at a Safeway in Arizona when she was shot in a targeted attack. She was immediately rushed to the hospital
and, surprisingly, survived. As time went on, it became clear that she
would remain stable, although no one knew exactly what her recovery would look like,
due to the severity of her head injuries. I mean, the fact that she survived at all
is pretty amazing. More than 90% of these kinds of injuries are
fatal. But there’s a big gap between surviving
and thriving. When her recovery began, Representative Giffords
had lost her ability to walk, read, write, and perhaps most frustratingly, to speak. As a politician, her voice was such a pivotal
part of life. And after months of physical therapy, occupational
therapy, and speech therapy, she regained most of these abilities. But speech was still a struggle. See, the injury meant that Gabby had lost
some ability to control her mouth and tongue movements, which made pronunciation difficult. And beyond that, she suffered from Broca’s
aphasia, which meant that she could understand what others were saying to her perfectly well,
but struggled to communicate appropriately with the correct words. Simple vocabulary seemed like an uphill battle. And complex sentences seemed like a mountain. But just one year later, Representative Gifford
had made a near-full recovery. And in her book, “A Story of Courage and
Hope”, she credited her rehabilitation, in large part, to an innovative form of treatment. Music therapy. Oh, I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Micah. I’m a therapist who talks about psychology
and mental health stuff here on YouTube and I’m a stranger in this here channel, but
I’m sure glad I ran into you! Anyway, if I were to guess, you’ve probably
heard of music therapy before, but maybe don’t know exactly what it is. So it’s time to do some learnin’. But let’s make it a little bit more comfortable,
shall we? Hey there, welcome to Micah Tone! If you are a sentient human person, and particularly
if you watch this channel, I’d guess that music plays a pretty important role in your
life. Perhaps lullabies soothed you to sleep as
a baby or you learned how to sing or play an instrument or you feel your musical taste
says something about your personality or, if you’re like me, Shaggy immediately makes
you think of awkward middle school dances. Music is connected to so many different aspects
of our lives and so it should come as no surprise that it can be an effective form of therapy. The concept of music as healing is nothing
new. Plato and Aristotle praised the virtues of
music as a healing force. In the bible, David played his harp to King
Saul to drive out an evil spirit. American Indians used chants to heal the sick. There are literally thousands of examples. But modern music therapy first began during
World War I with soldiers suffering from “shell shock” and other mental health issues. Musicians were brought in by the military
to play for recovering veterans. But the doctors and nurses soon realized that
the soldiers who were engaged with the music were healing faster. They used music as an outlet to process their
emotional and mental disorders and it served as a practical way to recover from traumatic
brain injuries. Wow, so music equals good. But what’s so special about music therapy? Well no doubt, you’ve prescribed yourself
some music when you want everything in the world to be okay. It’s by far one of the most common coping
mechanisms that my clients identify to calm themselves down or just feel better. But as cool as music therapy sounds, it’s
not just listening to Billie Eilish or hanging in the basement, noticing the world turning
while your guitar gently weeps. Nor is it something that volunteers do on
the weekend with little kids for fun. Instead, it’s a totally legit, evidence-based
form of mental health treatment conducted by trained professional therapists that uses
music to accomplish specific goals. Although it varies from person to person,
there are two big categories of music therapy: Receptive and Active. Receptive music therapy focuses on listening
to music in order to gain its healing effects. This could be with either recorded or live
music that the therapist picks. The power of receptive music therapy relies
on the fact that we connect with music on an emotional level. It allows for more processing of the song,
how it sounds, what it means, and much more. Listening to music may allow clients to access
difficult emotions or change how they feel or use lyrics to explore new insights. This form of therapy has been shown to improve
mood and increase relaxation while decreasing stress, easing pain, and lowering anxiety
levels. And on the other side, there’s Active music
therapy, which engages in music as the focus of therapy. This could involve singing, playing an instrument,
and even writing music. The active type shows similar benefits to
receptive music therapy, but it relies heavily on self-expression as the focus of treatment. Additionally, since active music therapy involves
the client either through singing or playing, it’s most effective for recovery from traumatic
brain injuries. Now, that said, both forms of therapy are
effective and neither is shown to be significantly better than the other. Instead, it should be tailored to the client
themselves. For example, a child with ADHD may struggle
to focus and sit through an entire song, but active music therapy might work perfectly. On the other hand, a cancer patient may not
have the energy or desire to play or sing a song, but would greatly benefit from passive
music therapy. The reason music therapy can be so effective
is because it activates multiple complex neurological processes. For example, consider the song “This Little
Light of Mine”. All right? This little light of mine, I’m gonna let
it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let
it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let
it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. It’s a simple tune, but within this one
song, you have melody, harmony, rhythm, tempo, dynamics, timbre, and lyrics. In addition, it has a particular emotion attached
to it and it may bring up certain memories if you’re familiar with it. In order to register all of that, you’re
accessing a lot of your brain. Just to hear the sound, I had to activate
subcortical structures like my brain stem and cochlear nuclei. This information then gets passed to the auditory
cortices located in the temporal lobe. Since I’ve heard the song before, I accessed
my memory centers, which includes the hippocampus and inferior frontal gyrus. As I read the music, my visual cortex was
firing. And when I sang the lyrics, my language centers
in the temporal and frontal lobes went off. Since I was playing the song with my hands,
that means my motor cortex, sensory cortex, and cerebellum all activated. And if any of you got goosebumps from my empassioned
playing or if you hated it or if you felt just any sort of emotions, your lymbic system
was turning on. So it’s no wonder music makes us feel alive. It literally lights up the brain. Well, actually I don’t know about that. I don’t know if there’s any light in there. In your average session, a music therapist
will mix both music and talk therapy to work through whatever it is that the client wants
to accomplish. The thing is that, the goal of music therapy
is never purely musical. Instead, it focuses on mental or emotional
struggles and the techniques used in session are tailored to the specific needs of that
individual. For example, using rhythm to help a stroke
patient learn how to walk to a beat. Or a client suffering from depression could
use music to talk about how they feel and even change their mood. And music can even help Autistic children
focus on one stimulus at a time and feel more emotionally expressive. Usually it involves either guitar or piano
since those are the instruments that most music therapists are trained in, and sessions
can happen in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, mental
health centers, and even private practice. And music therapy has shown effectiveness
in treating a wide range of issues. On the more medical side, music therapy is
shown to be effective in helping people recover who have experienced stroke or aphasia or
traumatic brain injuries or even dementia. This is actually the case for Gabby Giffords,
in fact. She was able to sing words that seconds ago
she had difficulty pronouncing. Although her normal speech was affected, the
neural pathways for recalling lyrics to a song were not. And as such, she could use this as a detour
to recovery. She was able to strengthen her vocal chords,
develop complex sentences, and relearn the language skills that she’d lost. It’s obvious that music therapy helps people
who have lost certain abilities. And this is why many hospitals employ music
therapists – because they’re so effective. And on the psychiatric side, research has
identified music therapy as an effective treatment for several mental health issues. For example, veterans and other clients with
PTSD show a decrease in their symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, and hypervigilance. Initial research on individuals with schizophrenia
show that it improves mood, which may lower aggression and reduce hallucinations and delusions. Autistic people are better able to express
emotion, improve attention, and develop better communication skills. Likewise, music therapy has shown short-term
beneficial effects for depression by decreasing anxiety levels and improving functioning. More research is needed into other afflictions,
but it’s clear that this form of therapy is here to stay. Music meets us where we’re at. Sometimes it does more for us than words can. I think that’s because it’s a dynamic,
emotional form of expression that connects and engages many different parts of our brain. And it can help us access feelings in a way
that talking just…can’t. That’s why you listen to sad ballad after
a breakup or why a melody teleports us back in time. Music is part of us and it can heal. Anyway, thanks for sticking around and listening
to me babel and watching all the way to the end. And, in particular, thanks Cory for having
me on. It’s just been a huge blast. Until next time, I’m Micah. Keep on rockin’. Pocket gummies! They’re actually raisins. thanks, Micah, and expect a call from my lawyer
about all that copyright infringement. if you want to see more stuff from Micah,
you can check out his video on the psychology of internet trolls, or the collaboration I
did with his co-host Alie a while back about the neuroscience of autism. I’ve linked both in the description. but before you do that, I want to take a minute
to thank this video’s sponsor, Tab for a Cause. Tab for a Cause is a free browser extension
that lets you harness the internet-surfing you were gonna do anyway and turn it into
free money for charity. basically, all you have to do is click the
link in the description to download and install it, then every time you open a new tab or
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of that ad to a collection of great charities like Action Against Hunger, Conservation International,
and for the vlogbrothers fans in the audience, the Foundation to Decrease Worldsuck. it’s incredibly easy to use and there’s no
cost to you, but all-told they’ve already managed to raise over three quarters of a
million dollars for charities, and since it’s so easy to use, that number’s just gonna keep
growing. so yeah, click the link in the description:
it’s totally free, and you’re helping raise money for a good cause. with your tabs. hey, wait, is that where the name comes from? and hey, thanks for watching, thanks to our
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About the author

Comments

  1. Oh hey, it's me! I've gotta say, having tried my hand at drawing semi-comprehensible doodles between the bars of sheet music with a sharpie, I need to give mad props to Cory for his skills. It is not easy! I think I messed up and had to restart a page like…three times. Also, I don't know where he gets the money for those fancy gummy bears. Dude must be rolling in it.

    Correction note: Annoyingly, I say "Gifford" instead of "Giffords" twice. Forgive me YouTube!

  2. Yeah I’d say. Music is very powerful, it stirs all kinds of emotions in people. It’s very therapeutic and medicinal. It’s not just a commodity.

  3. I had a person come to my school advocating for music therapy on behalf of the Life is Beautiful Foundation. Basically, she went up and told us that sad music was causing several teenager's depression and replacing it with pop music cured them. It was the most aggravating thing to listen to as someone who likes emo music, so the term "music therapy" kinda triggers me. It's nice to hear an expert talk about the actual scientifically proven parts of it.

  4. Very interesting. Good to know that it’s a real way to cure people. Just wonder why so many musicians are afflicted with depression or destructive behavior. Or maybe it’s just a bias because they are famous and we hear about their issues. Anyway. Great video as always

  5. This reminds me of Rocket Science. 2007 movie about a kid who uses the banjo to help his speach and join a debate club

  6. Full respect to Cory but this proves my theory that his left-handed-ness really hurts the handwritten concept: his hand hides what he wrote for way longer than this guy's, making it harder for the viewer to absorb the information. Unfortunately I can't think of a solution to this, other than a 12-tone channel in Hebrew.

  7. I sing songs at a retirement home every once in a while, and those people are the best audience in the world.
    It's a therapy for me too. I walk out of there with my head held high. This kind of therapy is a two-way street.
    If you can play and sing, ask your local care center if you can help out. They might even pay you for your troubles.

  8. So good those collabs!

    They speak slower ! o/ I thought .. then this guy grabs a paper and .. hehehe
    But still awesome ! 🙂

  9. Thanks for a useful clip. Nice to see the stave back in action. "It literally lights up the brain…well actually, I don't know about that. I don't know if there's any light in there." brought me a smile. Music has helped me greatly on my healing journey. Writing songs can make words come out in a different way than journalling, finding just the right key change at the right time can help the locked up sadness be expressed in tears, rage at the injustices of the world can become useful in strong driving rhythms, even practicing scales to a click track can be a form meditation. When the click disappears (in my mind's ear) I am often focused on the now and that can be calming. I look forward to music therapy gaining more funding for research and exploration into the power it can have with helping to heal.

  10. this video in a nutshell: Gabby Gifford got shot in the head. Being a congresswoman, she received the highest standard of care available on the planet. She also listened to music. A year later, she was recovered enough for somebody to ghost-write a book for her. In conclusion, music heals bullet wounds!

  11. I've been listening to music whenever I feel depressed and it truely helps me get out of my depression much sooner. Happy and sad music both seem to work but I prefer to listen to sad song more in general so that's usually what I stick to.

  12. The left-to-right drawings are so off-putting but it's great and I love it

    Edit: I don't know how to direction, sorry, fixed

  13. I missed the location of that shooting by only hours… my neighbor was still there when it happened and called us to warn us not to come to that part of town. Not often that I hear about it these days

  14. Nice pipes and cool video, learned a lot and enjoyed the process as always. My only gripe is, I now want some gummy bears 😛

  15. I’ve been self-medicating on ukulele. Like the counselor said, bring out the playful me, no the angry guy.

  16. I had a small stroke about a year ago. My head had always been filled with old songs, and I discovered that singing them (sometimes using YouTube to refresh my memory) made me feel better, and my neurologist pointed out that they helped me recover memory in general. I used "uplifting" songs like "The Mary Ellen Carter" and "Julian of Norwich- All shall be well". I had also played the ukulele before my stroke, but I couldn't force my fingers to form the chords properly, and I'm still working on that. The more I sing, the louder I sing, the more my brain recovers.

  17. The music when Micah had the guitar really confused me. I was like "He legit just muted the strings, why am I still hearing them?! … Oh wait. Ohh" XP

  18. This was a great ep, and I LOVE Tab For A Cause. I put it on every computer I use, and while it's usually a trio of ads at the bottom right corner for me, they're really not obtrusive.

  19. As a Music Therapist we have a model which describes on which levels music therapy works! its called the ABECI Modell which says music therapy works: 1: A = on the Attention level. So music gets attention even from people with dementia who normally cant focus. 2: Behavioral level: Music makes to want you move and tap your foot or even dance or clap to the rhythm. 3. Emotional level: Music makes you connect to your emotions and to phases of your life where you connect specific music with. 4. Cognitional level: Music starts the association and you can get on thoughts and in connection and remember specific episodes of your life connected with music maybe better 5. Interaction: Music is a team sport and it brings people together and can help to form a group or a better interaction with the therapist

  20. I get concerned when the therapy includes using certain music or merely certain notes to tune my chakras. As emotional therapy OK. Active music therapy seems to have promise for use in connecting the body and brain.
    I was thinking the previous paragraph and then you started explaining it while I played guitar and composed the message.

  21. Thanks for making this video! I’m going to begin studying music therapy next month. Many of my friends and family have no idea what music therapy is and why I would want to be a music therapist, so it’s great to see a video like this.

  22. I am a board-certified music therapist and I was always so inspired by Gabby Gifford’s progress with the help of neurological music therapy! Specifically a method called MIT (melodic intonation Therapy) which totally helped rewrire her brain and help connect damaged synapses to regain speech through singing! Music therapists have done so much intensive training and study to be able to apply these methods to clients! I truly love this field! I really appreciate the explanation that this guy provides for MT. 🙂 Music Therapy isn’t an individual’s relationship/ experience in regards to music, instead, music therapy is an evidence based allied health profession administered by certified personal to meet goals and needs. You can learn more about music therapy from the American Music Therapy Association.

  23. I'd be interested in knowing about how music therapy affects people who are musically trained. Like, are the same benefits afforded to those who work/perform as musicians or because of their affiliation with it, do they interpret the therapy less/more effectively? Awesome video though, keep on rockin'!

  24. /thnks for this video. I was in a car accident. I said to a doctor afterwards: "At least I just have a concussion" He said: "You were hit by someone going 60 mph while you were at a dead stop, you have a bruise in the shape of the steering wheel on your forehead that is an inch tall. You have a TBI. There's no such thing as just a concussion." He was right. I've been suffering with Post Concussion Syndrome for more than three years now. Difficulty remembering words, emotional instability, severe depression, suicidal ideation etc. My guitars and other instruments sat unplayed for quite awhile. With Ketamine treatments and SSRIs I was able to climb out of the hole I was in. It's not normal music therapy, but making music has been therapeutic. The accident did something to my brain. I've recorded almost a thousand pieces of music in the last 6 months. A lot of it is good by my judgement and that of friends. I've even been asked to play on an album with a musician I've always looked up to as a result of this outpouring. I'll be going into the studio with a well respected producer/engineer soon.I'm currently working on material for at least 10 albums. Sequencing a collaborative album with another artist I love and respect. I need to stop recording and mix, but I'm afraid that might not be as good for my recovery. Aside from a successful but ultimately unsustainable attempt to use psychedelics to treat my injury, the work with music has done the most for me. I'm seeing sustained improvements in all areas. Thanks again. I love your videos.

  25. Video games on the shelf, cat tower and instruments in the room, a friend of 12tone… this guy is pretty cool!

  26. The ability to work around the "speaking" part of the brain with music (9:00) reminds me of Bumblebee from transformers. I wonder if they knew this when they did that, probably not, but still, it's a nifty correlation.

  27. I did a study about the effects of classical music on shelter dogs and dogs with homes and they all loved it!!

  28. Thank you for doing this episode on music therapy! As a music therapist it gives me hope that there are people out there that appreciate what I do.

  29. As a board-certified music therapist, it makes me really happy to see this! The explanation Micah gives of MT is not only accurate, but it is also better detailed than many other professionals' attempts I have witnessed at explaining the field

  30. 10:03 really? Im on the spectrum and i have misophonia and i cope with my misophonia with bluetooth headphones and music during school. Ive notice that when i started treating my misophonia that over the years ive gotten better with social skills and other stuff relating to my asd and it feels like i dont have aspergers anymore. Maybe me listening to music helped me, but i dont have a bachelor's degree or anything like that so idk

  31. I useo music as my focus cure – I have ADD and it helps me keep focus at work, talking with new people and video games. (=

  32. Gonna write somewhere that if it ever happens to me to get brain damage, I want my headphones on all the time to stay alive psychologically speaking. Thought this thing before watching this video and now I'm even more convinced to do that

  33. What are your opinions on death metal, I personally love it? But my friends are scared by it , and often wonder why I find pleasures in extremely graphic and violent lyrics. I find the extremely fast music and guitars soothing it’s hit or miss with vocals

  34. You have such an awesome channel. I enjoy and learn so much. What I really want you to know though. The GUMMY BEARS at the end of each of your videos, is absolute pure genius and I watch just for the gummy toss. It shows compassion, humor, intimacy, and a lot of the Character of your channel. Keep up the great work

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