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Whenever a man obsessed by the idea of a piece of art living in him, starts expressing his understanding of the world, and the people living in it, and him living among those people, there must be the new masterpiece coming.
In spite of the fact that, as a rule, one indulges into art to find the shelter from the reality, the author of the book called The Soloist explores quite a different issue of the man who uses his art as the only way to cling to the world that is slipping through his fingers.
However strange and confusing that might sound, music and only music both takes one away from this world into another sphere of self-cognition and helps to get through in the world of the ordinary.
To Make a Snapshot of the Book
Exploring the issue of a man getting crazy because of the twists of fate and playing a violin to stay sane, Lopez provides quite a case for the psychologists from all over the world. It seems unbelievable what music can do to a person who has problems with surviving in the world.
Amazingly, it can help both people with deeply psychological problems and the disabled. There must be some invisible material that makes music the one and only language understood by everyone, despite the differences in the age, education, culture or whatever.
Music unites and makes people share everything what they have with the rest. It provides a quiet resort for those who need to be distracted from the surrounding cruelty, and links things and people that might never collide together.
It is impossible to predict the turns of destiny that night lead one to the state if insanity. As Lopez put that himself,
Mental illness doesn’t choose the most talented or the smartest or the richest or the poorest. It shows no mercy and often arrives like an unexpected storm, dropping an endless downpour on young dreams. (Lopez 116)
It is extremely important to figure out the way Lopez sheds the light on the problem. To him, it is a conflict between a man, art and society. This has always been an issue for heated debates, and the question of whether music or any other kind of art can help one to integrate into the society and become a part of it, understanding it better with the help of music, or, on the contrary, be thrown away as a weirdo that is prepossessed by the art that no one needs.
Indeed, one can dissolve in music so fully that it will take long time to crawl back to the world with its daily-routine issues and the growing lack of beauty. So the question is how on earth music can be a link between the world of a single person and the one that makes the other universe?
Can the music support the one who feels an outcast among the people who have repeatedly pushed him away and now are not willing to take him as a part of their universe?
This is the problem that has been brewing in the society since the day it was born. Thus, the importance of the subject is beyond any reasonable doubt. Is it possible that the music can be a therapy that might cure the patient? If yes, then what are the ways that it can work all those miracles? The credibility of the issue is rather doubtful, and all this doubles the problem. Many things like people’s psychological state, their health and their sanity depend on it. The abovementioned altogether highlights the importance of this research.
Now it is time to speak of the results that the given research can provide.
The Importance of Being Different
First of all, it has been figured out that the influence that music can have on a person may vary depending both on the one who listens to the music and on the kind of music that is being played.
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It is very reasonable to point out that in case when music is supposed to have therapeutic influence on children, it is better to use the one of classical genre, that has the effect both soothing and making children think better and react better.
The idea is that at this stage, children are supposed to gain new knowledge, absorb new information and acquire new skills that will help them in their future relations with the outer world. However, together with the abovementioned, children must have much more rest than the adults do, since the organism of the former is far too fragile yet, and they need a special treatment that will allow them to absorb knowledge efficiently.
At this moment, the tissue of the classical music comes to the point. It is not that the children should like it or listen to it daily with the growing interest. The whole idea is that they can hear it as a background, which will have the impact on the learning process and the process of cognition of the outer world.
This can help with the situation when a child is rather nervous – which is rather widespread situation – and needs something that could help him or her to calm down. The effect of the classical music in the situation with a nervous child is amazing, since a few days later any traces of neurosis will vanish and the child will become times calmer and composed.
It is especially important if a child suffers from a mental disease. In this case, the music therapy is of utter importance for the child, for his or her further development and for coming to terms with the society.
Music is a no-other-way-out situation in the case of an autistic child. There is nothing else than parents could find to help the boy or girl to remain in the big world, not letting the child to get locked in the small world of his or her own.
As Betsey King-Brunk claims,
The first step toward learning and communication, therefore, is helping a child focus on the information that is important. Several “acoustic” therapies have been created to help children in the autism spectrum learn to filter, tolerate and/or prioritize the sound frequencies around them. Although many of these techniques have children listen to the recorded music, they are a separate category of music therapy. (18)
The above-mentioned altogether means that music therapy is actually more than simply listening to the recording. What does it include, then?
In fact, there are several traits that differ listening to music and music therapy. These are the specific sounds and melodies that might serve as the therapy, chosen carefully and developed into a course that is aimed at certain result. Otherwise, there will be not effect.
The numerous researches in the sphere of music therapy for autism show that its impact is huge. Children begin to get interested in the outer world and stop chaining themselves to the small space they used to live in, isolated from the rest of people. Thus, the aim of the researchers is to dig deeper to figure out if music therapy can cure the disease completely. In this case, the art of medicine will make a huge step forward, allowing doctors to cure the people who are now doomed to be the outcasts of the society.
Which Way Does the Music Heal?
However, these are not only children who can benefit psychologically from listening to the music as a therapy. It can work with adults as well, In spite of the fact that adults are a harder material to deal with when it comes to speaking about psychology and the problems with their consciousness and soul, there are still some prospects of curing psychological diseases with help of music.
The thing that must be remembered is that there are basically two approaches of the music therapy that are applied to the adults. These are a psychotherapeutic approach and a music-centered approach. The basic ideas of the two are rather simple. The former, introduced by Mary Priestley, and actually a pioneering one in the sphere of music role in psychiatry, presumes the individual approach to the patients in terms of their music treatment and is not focused on working with a lot of people at once:
She began to use insights gained from her analysis in understanding the work with her music therapy patients and subsequently began to consider the music to be an expression of emotion in sound and a link to the unconscious. Priestley’s definition for her method was ‘the use of words and symbolic music improvisations by the client and therapists for the purpose of exploring the client’s inner life and providing the proclivity for growth’. (Darnley-Smith 25-26)
The calculations were impeccable. The new method worked right and the results came fats and encouraging. Indeed, certain patterns of music can create the necessary environment for the people suffering from a range of psychological diseases and cause a fast recovery.
The second method called Nordoff-Robins therapy suggests a music-centered approach and is based on the fact that practically every single man can create a certain rhythm with help of a musical instrument. The relaxation that comes as a result of making music, and not simply listening to it, is something that cannot be explained as a plain need for rhythm. There is something that makes the essence of “homo sapiens sapiens”, the very need for art that lives in every single man.
It has been notified that even the people with psychological dysfunctions are eagerly indulging in all kinds of arts – actually, it would be reasonable to say, “every man with psychological dysfunctions”, because, unlike the rest of people, they need something that could help them to prove that they are worthy, that they are a decent part of the society that they live in.
Indeed, “Bodies of music therapy knowledge are not universalizable but there are commonalities of practice” (Aldridge 22). There are no typical cases in psychiatry and psychology, but there are certain patterns and certain ideas that might serve as the grounds for the further treatment of the given disease.
Where the Words Cease
Summing up all that has already been mentioned, there is the clue idea that holds the whole theory of the musical treatment and the music therapy as one of the variants of curing people with mental and psychological problems. The very fact that music is something that everyone can enjoy and understand is of the utter importance for the psychological research.
Giving the basic ideas of how music therapy can help people experiencing certain problems, the given work suggests th future prospects of the music therapy development, as well as summarizes everything that has been achieved I this field so far.
It is extremely important that people should understand that music is one of those instruments that could give psychologists the opportunity to look into the patient’s soul without the wearing talks and long researches. It is quick, efficient and fruitful in terms of the positive effect that one can observe through the last ten years of the music therapy development.
However, it is also an important conclusion that the approaches have to vary depending on the person that they are applied to. Although a person’s chain of reactions can be traced and explained, there are still a lot of white spots in human’s psychology, and there are no common places in the theory.
It was perfectly explained by Grocke:
With the increase of social migration all over the world, therapeutic relationships are significantly influenced by the cultural norms of both clients and therapists. Subtle communication cues and personal space are culturally sensitive (23).
Thus, although the approach that has to be taken is supposed to ground on the latest researches and the methods described above, the doctor also has to take into consideration the patient’s personal peculiarities that differ him from the case studies that have been known so far. Each of them is a new world that has to be unlocked and understood, and that is where the music therapy must help.
With the new ways of helping people to overcome their own problems, whether those are phobias, neuroses, depressions or mental diseases, the doctors will be able to increase the speed of the patients’ recovery in hundred times. What used to take years of psychological training and careful observations, could now last for several weeks.
However amazing and unbelievable that may sound, the new means of treating the patients with help of music can provide the clue for curing the diseases that used to chain people to the ward of the asylum.
This is a major breakthrough, which has to be taken into account. After all, the famous expression says that music begins where the words cease, so there might come the time when hope rises where a melody sounds. This sounds like a description of heaven, doesn’t it? Well, perhaps heaven is another name for the place where there is no room for illness.
Aldridge, David. Case Study in Music Therapy. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2005. Print.
Dranley-Smith Rachel, Helen M. Pattey. Music Therapy. Sacramento, CA: SAGE, 2003. Print.
Grocke, Denis, Tony Wigram. Receptive Methods in Music Therapy: Techniques and Clinical Applications for Music therapy Clinicians, Eductaors and Students. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007. Print.
King Brunk, Betsey. Music Therapy: Another Path to Learning and Communication fort Children on the Autism Spectrum. Orlando, FL: Future Horizons, 2004. Print.
Lopez, Steve. The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music. New York, NY: Penguin Group USA. 2010. Print.