You are here
Effects of Arts-Based Programs
Therapists, music teachers and other individuals who have received music therapy training at Al Mada have found that arts-based programs such as ours have a variety of benefits. In one case,
a therapist working with a young boy suffering from leukaemia reported that after little success with traditional therapy, and only one month of music therapy, he stopped bedwetting, was able to express his feelings, had reduced his level of anxiety and fear, and developed a sense of empowerment. In a second case, a music teacher working with an emotionally traumatized school girl noticed that –after just one term of music therapy - she was able to vocalize her needs, achieve a greater sense of understanding of her circumstances and improve her social interaction with other children.
Arts-based programs such as ours have a variety of benefits which include: fostering self-expression; promoting a positive outlook; reducing fear, anxiety and isolation; developing inter-personal skills; improving health, confidence and self-esteem; and creating a sense of community. We have seen that these positive benefits on an individual and small-group level can benefit communities in a number of ways by reducing tension, increasing academic performance, and enhancing social cohesion.
Click here for Al-Mada Success Stories from Music Therapy Trainees.
Music Therapy Methodology
Stage One: Introduction
During the introductory sessions, improvisation and rhythm skills are emphasized. Participants learn about various instruments and how and why they are used in music therapy, focusing on using them as a channel to identify feelings and emotions. During this stage, the trainer also conducts training and exercises on using percussions.
Stage Two: Music Concepts
In stage two, concepts in music in relation to psychology are introduced. Balance (relating to the rhythm and beat of life) and tempo (related to speed of percussions) are topics of discussion.
Oriental music is introduced due to the strength of the beat and to indicate the use of music for the projection of emotions. Participants are encouraged to interact with one another, improvise how they felt and project their feelings, as well as identify why they did not feel in harmony or at ease with themselves or the surroundings, if this was the case, or the opposite. They are encouraged to describe the emotions and feelings they experienced and relate these feelings to the various instruments introduced.
During this session, participants will learn more about themselves and how they exist and build relationships in their own lives. Listening is a skill in life and in music and during this exercise, participants will mirror each others’ emotions and actions as an exercise in listening. Participants will learn about the skills they possess and/or lack and strengths/weaknesses, while applying techniques to improve their communication and using music as a discipline to create a smoother dynamic.
Stage Three: Children"s Reactions and Responses
In this stage, the trainer will simulate a children’s playroom, encourage role playing and allow time for feedback. Children have their own way of expressing themselves and like to be independent, individually recognized for their uniqueness, and belong to a group. Free improvisation is an important part of this stage during the different exercises, mechanisms and use of instruments. During these sessions, personality types and characteristics are identified such as whether individuals are followers or leaders, shy or confident and so on, and this also reflects the quality of their communication and obstacles they may experience in using the techniques they are introduced to.
The improvisation and role play creates a relationship between participants in general and allows them to observe their environment, relationships and interactions rather than focus on themselves as individuals. This interaction also promotes self-realization and recognition through this interaction. From their interaction and the way they hold their instruments or their choice of instrument and how they play during improvisation, relations of the group can be identified and this is a projection of their own emotions, feelings and comfort levels.
The technique of reflection is used to further look into the needs and wants of children: this involves listening carefully and attentively to other participants and being committed in thought and emotion if you can bring yourself into alignment with your students behavior, showing acceptance and letting go of judgment, you will see a marked improvement in the way you interact with each other. You will also see the student open up more and be more trusting of you.
Stage Four: The Use of Vocals and Influence of the Voice
Children use their voices as a way of communication from a very early age and are able to identify reactions from the tones of adults’ voices before they can speak: it is a type of music. Many of the participants are shy to use their voices and find freedom in experimenting with the use of different levels and pitches. The trainer will use some ice-breaking exercises to deal with such lack of confidence and demonstrate how the choices individuals make in the way they use their voices can reveal a lot about them, their emotional state and their feelings.
The importance of this exercise is to identify the individual"s use of his voice, to project his/her emotions on the instrument they use and to identify how emotions such as anger, sadness etc influence the voice; as well as how nervousness or shyness takes away control of one’s voice.
Stage Five: Recorded Music
During this session, participants listen to a series of different moods of recorded music, where they are free to use their imaginations and express what the music makes them think or feel. This is a chance for them to express their feelings and to reflect on their own memories, pasts and emotions. The trainer focuses on the type of music and timing and will then distribute cards with types of emotions - each participant chooses instruments to “play the emotion” and the other participants identify the emotion. Later on, name cards will be distributed to participants and names are then swapped so that each person can describe how they see the other person and have a chance to talk about themselves.
During this stage, participants are given the opportunity to evaluate the music therapy training and provide feedback.