The process of learning or participating in music is therapeutic by nature. It has been scientifically proven that musicians develop certain areas of their brain that non-musicians do not (see works by Oliver Sacks). Even those who do not play an instrument will use music to affect their mood. For example, people will listen to different types of music in order to become excited versus trying to relax.
One of the most interesting things about music is that it stimulates both the logic/math (tempo, rhythm) and the creative/artistic (expressing yourself, creating beautiful tone) parts of your brain at the same time. This means that music is not a pastime that you can just partially focus on if you wish to be successful at it.
The idea behind the field of Music Therapy is to use music to work on a goal that may not necessarily be musical. Due to the fact that playing an instrument requires such a wide range of skills, a music therapy patient may work on anything from muscle development to using it to redirect emotion.
Obviously, every individual has different needs. But it’s important to know that there is a lot of crossover between the two fields. The private lesson environment is only limited to what you, the music student, want to get out of it. It could just be strictly learning a skill. But there’s also the potential to delve deeper and use the time to develop other aspects of yourself as well.
More entries: October 2011
Violinist.com is made possible by...
Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.