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The Amazing Benefits Of Music Therapy

2254 words - 10 pages

The human brain is made up of interconnected neural networks which fire electrochemical signals in order to release different chemicals and facilitate different functions (Levitin, 2006). This involves massive amounts of cooperation between five ‘main sections’: the frontal lobe, which controls planning, self-control, and signal-interpretation (‘executive functioning’), the parietal lobe, which controls spatial and motor movements, the temporal lobe, which controls hearing and memory, the occipital lobe, which controls vision, and the cerebellum, which controls emotions and plans movement (Levitin, 2006). Each of these sections has several structures within itself (Levitin, 2006). If a part of the brain stops working, it stands to reason that the function which it helps control becomes impaired; this is when cognitive disorders arise (Levitin, 2006). While the ideal treatment for different cognitive disorders is debated, recent research supports that music may provide an option for patients with disorders such as (but not limited to) Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and autism (Samson, 2009). This paper will explore such experiments, attempting to support that listening to and learning how to play or sing music can promote neuroplasticity, a form of brain ‘training’ that essentially allows it to re-wire and thus ‘cure’ itself (Samson, 2009), in multiple parts of the brain. This paper supports the assertion that such knowledge can be applied to both children and adults with cognitive disorders.
Before the merits of music therapy can be explored, the term ‘music’ must be defined. In this essay, ‘music’ will refer to Western (European and American) instrumental music. Music is built on twelve notes, a collection of tones which are separated by 200 ‘cents’ (determined by the formula 1731lnf_2/f_1, f is the frequency of a given tone) each, where ‘cents’ is a measure of change in air-speed and frequency where (source 15). The notes which Western music is built on are each 1.059 tones higher than the last (source 14); as the strings or tubes of an instrument warp with use, this degree can be distorted (source 14). The range in tonality that results is due to the conduction of air and sound-waves. Sound operates by bouncing off an existing medium, forming oscillatory, uni-directional wave-forms called longitudinal waves (Logan, 2010). Different wave-lengths travel at different speeds, called frequencies; this is accomplished across the atmosphere of Earth, though sound-waves can also bounce through solid and liquid mediums (Logan, 2010). Sound is generated in music when air molecules are pressed against a surface that begins to vibrate, such as the strings of a violin (Logan, 2010). These air molecules, placed under more and more pressure as a note becomes higher and higher, then hit other air molecules, causing an oscillating chain of collisions that travel to the ear-drum, vibrating it at the same frequency of the original string’s vibration (Logan, 2010)....

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