Music therapy is one of the directions of art therapy. According to the article “Definition and Quotes about Music Therapy”, it is a method that allows to use music as the means of psychological correction. Numerous methods of music therapy are divided into an isolated usage of music (listening to music compositions, individual and group music performance) and additional musical accompaniment to other ways of treatment. The therapy helps to relieve the symptoms of depression, stress, and other mental problems.
The sound waves are a physical phenomenon that occurs in different aggregative states of substances. Since ancient times, a human being has been surrounded by sounds. Thousands of years ago, the music itself did not exist, but a person could hear birds sing or leaves rustle. These sounds informed him or her about the environment. Due to the inherent and obtained experience, a human being could differently perceive the surrounding sounds. For example, a loud scream was an alarm signal. At the same time, there were the calming sounds like the sound of rain or wind.
Thus, different types of sounds have a different influence on a human being. It is directly connected with the rhythms of the brain. When perceiving sound information, the brain analyzes and compares it with the internal rhythms. Every person has an individual frequency of the rhythms. That is why the music preferences of people are also different. With age, the functioning of cerebral processes slows, and a person becomes unable to perceive a quick rhythmic music preferring the calmer and soft one. It is caused by the inability of the brain to perceive the information that rapidly changes.
With every decade, the modern music becomes more quick and aggressive. If several decades ago the dancing music was considered to be the foxtrot and later the twist, in the following years there appeared the disco. A bit later, the electronic music started to develop rapidly. It provided mankind with the new rhythms of 140, 150, 160 and even more bits in a minute. However, the human organism is unable to live in accordance with such rhythms. D. Aldridge and J. Fachner state that due to such progress, people experience the disorders of the functioning of the central nervous system, the disturbance of sleep, depressions, and impatience (125).
Every day, the majority of people listens to different music that can be heard at any place not depending on the will of a person: in public transport, on the radio or television, in a supermarket or a cinema, in the street or at a disco, in a pub or a restaurant. At the same time, hardly anyone thinks about its influence on the spiritual world and its outer reflection – the behavior.
Of course, the character of a person cannot be significantly changed after having listened to several songs on the radio and then going on with the performance of everyday duties. Here it is about the music lovers, those who cannot live without music. Such people perceive the majority of sounds from the music they listen to.
When comparing the musical sphere with the other branches of art, it is possible to say that music is one of the most inspirational fields. With the help of rhythm, melody, harmony, dynamics, the difference of sound combinations and colorings, music can show the endless gamma of feelings and moods. Its power consists in the ability to influence the subconsciousness and change the people’s mood. Correspondingly to the content, music can awaken different feelings, intentions, and desires. It can make a person relaxed, calmed down, irritated etc.
This is the influence that can be understood by the human brain. Accordingly, a person can control his/her behavior depending on the type of this impact. All these processes are carried out consciously, with the participation of thinking and will.
However, there also exists the influence that does not get involved in the level of consciousness and has an impact on the deeper structures of the brain and becomes a major part of motivation and behavior. Of course, one cannot exaggerate the influence of the human personality development; however, one can neither deny the fact of its participation in the process of consciousness formation.
When speaking about the influence of music on the character and behavior of a person, it is necessary to separate music and lyrics. The thing is that the lyrics have a direct influence on the human brain (they may contain a direct statement or meaning). They are understood totally in the accordance with their content.
The music itself does not contain any direct content. However, the subconsciousness creates a chain of abstract connections that compose the hidden meaning of music.
One more fact that requires a thorough investigation is the correspondence between artificial music rhythms and the rhythms of the human organism. If these rhythms are identical, the influence is strengthened. If the process of activity of a person is calm and balanced, a quiet and moderate music accompaniment will improve the efficiency. If a person is aggressive, the corresponding music rhythms with a lot of noise in the music will help to support this state. The musical and biological rhythms are interconnected because the latter is influenced by the former. From this point of view, music is an objective and independent notion that cannot be changed under the influence of people’s will, desire, and mood. That is the reason why a person should tune to the music and correspond to its energy, rhythm, and content.
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In most cases, to help people relieve the symptoms of mental difficulties and diseases, the receptive music therapy is used. The members of a group are suggested to listen to the chosen musical compositions and then to discuss their feelings, memories, thoughts, emotions, associations, and fantasies that appear in the process of listening. At one meeting, they usually listen to three musical compositions or more or less finished passages.