By Dr. Geetha Bhat

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Why IMTA?

Music Therapy is a growing non-invasive intervention in hospitals, hospices, rehabilitation-centres, elder's home, army barracks, pre and post surgical wards, health centres and the like, all over the world. Decades back, the Americans had pioneered using music as a therapeutic intervention for rehabilitation of the world war veterans. However, historically and also legendarily it is the Indians who pioneered the application of nada as a form of yoga to uplift once level of consciousness to achieve 'relaxed alertness'.

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In view of the rich heritage of musical culture with immense varieties and forms, the Indian ragas have all contributed favorably to inculcate tremendous resilience among the populations which had been historically facing untold sufferings by way of frequent foreign invasions, uncertainties of climatic changes viz floods ,drought causing displacements of populations from place to place, colonial aggression, dispotic rulers, superstitious and unreasonable outlook of medieval populations etc.

Unfortunately the esoteric ideas blossomed in the form of principles and practices of Yoga, Nada Yoga, Raga Chikitsa etc., became decadent due to western influence. It is only in recent years there has been a movement to revive them by some scholars and practitioners of Music and Music Therapy. With the establishment of some music therapy centres in places like Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, etc, many youngsters have been enthused to take up music therapy as a serious profession. There is a growing need of an association to look after the interest of these new professionals. To fulfill their aspiration and also towards achieving greater professionalism in this highly challenging discipline, Indian Music Therapy Association has now taken its roots.

All Music Therapists, Music Healers, Musicians, Music Lovers, Medical Professionals, Psychologists, Social Service Volunteers and the common people believing in the power of Music, are welcome to join this Association as members.




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What is Music?

Melody, embedded with words and rythm which eminates joy is called music. Music is formed of a connected series of sounds or tones of a definite pitch and pattern that the brain could process into something beautiful and meaningful. Music is melody,which is universal,spiritual ,bringing out,total involvement of oneself with vibrations that lead to creativity and serenity. - MR

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What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. Music Therapy is an established health profession.Music therapy is a non verbal approach to the person using instruments and music in general.

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Music therapy is one of the expressive therapies, A type of expressive arts therapy that uses music to improve and maintain the physical, psychological, and social well-being of individuals involves a broad range of activities, such as listening to music, singing, and playing a musical instrument. Active or passive, can improve both motor control and emotional functions in patients with a wide range of health problems.In this medical practice, the therapeutic use of music is used to address the numerous needs of individuals (psychological, physical, cognitive etc.). This form of therapy is best when it is tailored to an individual's requirements. From the social and cultural perspective music permeates our society and culture making it familiar and easily accessible for our clients. Thus, a professional music therapist can select and apply appropriate music for effective treatment of our clients that reflects their culture and personal identity.- TVS

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Music and Brain

An emerging field called "Neuro-musicology" has significantly advanced in the last decade to emphasize the connection of Music on the brain. When babies listen to music, especially classical music they make strong music related connections in the brain. Over time continued listening actually changes the way the child's mind works, by creating specific pathways in the brain that would have not been present otherwise.

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Music has the ability to improve high order thinking skills like problem solving, analyzing and evaluating information, inference, contrasting similarities and dissimilarities and much more. The cognitive neuroscience of music further emphasizes that music can be a great source for multi-sensory learning, which in turn leads to better retention of information with research-proven cognitive benefits. Learning music by itself is a complex multi sensory experience, engaging both the hemispheres of the brain, with a perfect precision system blended with melody and emotions and continuous feedback from various parts of the brain like the sensory cortex, visual cortex, auditory cortex, hippo campus etc. On the whole music can be a perfect companion to improve ourselves socially, cognitively, psychologically or emotionally. - GB

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Psychology of Music

Music is heard by people daily in many parts of the world, and affects people in various waysfrom emotion regulation to cognitive development, along with providing a means for self-expression.The field of Psychology of Music , which can be regarded as a branch of both Psychology and Musicology; is also known as Music Psychology. This branch aims to study, explain and understand the musical behavior and experience, including the processes through which music is perceived, created, responded to, and incorporated into everyday life.

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Being primarily empirical, the modern Psychology of music is concerned with research in understanding the psychological processes involved in listening music, playing music, and composing and improvising music, using empirical, theoretical and computational methods. Along with studies on listening to music, performing, composition,memorising, analysing, education, criticism, and therapy; the field of research in Music Psychology also involves investigations of human attitude, skill, performance, intelligence, creativity, and social behavior. Thus, its knowledge tends to advance on the basis of interpretations of data collected by systematic observation of and interaction with human participants, through experiments, surveys or otherwise, with theoretical innovation. The highly interdisciplinary subject of the Psychology of Music, involves contributions from Psychologists, Musicologists and Computer scientists. Their research uses psychological theories and methods to interpret and understand musical sounds, musical behaviours, and the effects of music; encompassing experimental work on music perception and cognition, computer modelling of human musical capacities, the social psychology of music, emotion and meaning in music, psychological processes in music therapy, the developmental psychology of music, music and consciousness, music and embodiment, and the neuroscience of music.The psychological approaches to the study of music cognition in different cultures can benefit the field of Ethnomusicology. Thus, this field is directed at increasing the scientific understanding of any psychological aspect of music.- AD

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Indian Music Therapy

Indian music is very unique, because of thousands of Raga,tunes,to its credit.These tunes are based up on permutations and combinations of Saptha swaras or 7 notes,which derive their base on Navarasas or nine human emotions.This quality of stirring human emotions and elevating the human self to experience,the infinity joy and bliss make Indian music therapeutic and spiritual too. - JR

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List of Ailments known to respond to Music Interventions

1. Chronic Ilness/Disease 2. Termina Disease 3. Development Disorders 4. Psychological Trauma 5. Grief/Loss Issues 6. Emotional/Spiritual Crisis 7. Chronic and Acute Pain 8. Anxiety and Depression 9. Alignment and Dementia 10. Neurological Disorders 11. Everyday Stress 12. Sensory Impairments 13. Chemical Dependency 14. Labor and Delivery - AG