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Music Therapy Brain

Research and Videos – Music and the Brain

May’s Theme: Music, The Brain and Ecstasy

If you have not yet read our book review of The Brain that Changes Itself you can find it here.

Thanks to Jimmy Downey, of our Music Therapy Team to compile the following excellent articles to support our theme of the month!

PBS News Hour. (2012) Spencer Michaels (Presenter). The Healing Power of Music.
This is a link to a video that aired on the Public Broadcasting Service in the United States. This video aired a few months ago and it follows the stories of many people and their music therapy treatment. It discusses the difference between music and music therapy, some of the science behind music therapy and the brain and a little bit about the training process for new music therapists.

unicef.org (2012) UNICEF: “Capoeira Therapy” Brings Joy to Iraqi Refugee Children [online exclusive]. Rob Sexsmith (presenter)
This video shows how a Brazilian music-martial art called Capoeira is used in Iraq as a wellness program for children in a refugee camp. It is an initiative of U.N.I.C.E.F. Canada to give the children a non-verbal form of expression and social interaction. Capoeira combines dancing, singing, martial arts, song-writing and playing a variety of instruments into a game first developed by slaves brought from Africa to Brazil hundreds of years ago.

Bambury, B. (2011, November, 18). How Music Therapy Soothed the Bullet-Damaged Brain.CBC News Canada.
This article is a CBC story about the recovery of Arizona Congresswoman Gabriel  Giffords. She was shot in the head which resulted in left-hemisphere brain damage. The article details how specific songs supported her recovery with several breakthroughs in her speech therapy. There is also a description of what the music did for her neurologically and how music affected her brain during the recovery and relearning processes she undertook.

Kwan, N.,Pedraza, M.,Lutz, B.J. (2009). Research Shows Music Can Heal the Mind. NBC Chicago. 
This article has a brief overview of some of the populations that can be helped by music therapy. This article is accompanied by a video that delves further into one specific case of a woman recovering her speech with the jazz standard Fly Me to the Moon.

Cromie, William J. (November 13, 1997) How Your Brain Listens to Music. The Harvard University Gazette.
This article gives the reader an idea how music, the ear and the brain turn sounds and music into stimulation and information for the brain. There is a brief description of how music affects one’s ability to learn and how damage to the brain may affect the listener’s ability to hear and understand music. There is also a discussion about the universality of music.

Hermann, T., Lauritzen, P. Braindance. Creative Dance Centre. (Retrieved May 2012)
This is a page from the Creative Dance Center in Seattle, Washington that describes a program used there, called BrainDance. These movements are based on the natural movements of infants exploring their bodies and environment and redesigned for children and adults. It is used as a brain and body warm-up but has many therapeutic possibilities as well. It is also based on the  way the Central Nervous System works as a whole relying on many parts to work, focusing on these parts individually as a whole body and mind exercise.

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