What is music therapy?
How did music therapy begin as a profession?
Some info from the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA): "The idea of music as a healing influence which could affect health and behavior is as least as old as the writings of Aristotle and Plato. The 20th century discipline began after World War I and World War II when community musicians of all types, both amateur and professional, went to Veterans hospitals around the country to play for the thousands of veterans suffering both physical and emotional trauma from the wars. The patients' notable physical and emotional responses to music led the doctors and nurses to request the hiring of musicians by the hospitals. It was soon evident that the hospital musicians needed some prior training before entering the facility and so the demand grew for a college curriculum. The first music therapy degree program in the world was founded at Michigan State University in 1944."
Who can it help?
The AMTA offers fact sheets on the uses of music therapy for various populations, such as persons in correctional & forensic settings, with Alzheimer's disease, young children, and in response to crisis & trauma. (Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has been using music therapy.)
The World Federation for Music Therapy offers info cards in over a dozen different languages (they are designed for students who want to respond to questions they are frequently asked).
A few books:
* Music as Medicine: The History of Music Therapy Since Antiquity (expensive)
* The Healing Forces of Music: History, Theory, and Practice (not expensive)
* A Comprehensive Guide to Music Therapy: Theory, Clinical Practice, Research and Training