Beyond Art, Beyond Science Music Therapy
Beyond Art, Beyond Science Music Therapy
  • Kim Lee Kyunghee
  • 승인 2009.05.09 01:14
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'Music Therapy is an established healthcare profession that uses music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals of all ages.  Music therapy improves the quality of life for persons who are well and meets the needs of children and adults with disabilities or illnesses.  Music therapy interventions can be designed to promote wellness, manage stress, alleviate pain, express feelings, enhance memory, improve communication, and promote physical rehabilitation.’ (American Music Therapy Association)

Art is composed of subjectivity, creativity, and beauty.  But science is consisted with objectivity, reproducibility, and fact.  What happens if these opposite fields meet?  That conceit is music therapy.  How great is the influence of art on a vessel which names science as powerful?  The Sookmyung Times (SMT) was introduced to the warmest therapy in the world by Byungcheol Choi, (CHOI) a professor at Sookmyung Women’s University Graduate School of Music Therapy.


SMT: Could you tell people what your actual major was, and how you became interested in music therapy?
Actually I majored in violin, and went to the U.S. to get my Master’s and Doctorate degrees.  After I finished studying, I searched for my final future goal.  One day I saw disabled children who were in a music class.  I realized that music makes people so happy, especially children. After I saw that lesson, I wanted to be a music teacher like that, so that became the hook that led me to become a music therapist.

SMT: What types of music therapy are available for patients?
First, we call our patients ‘clients’.  We call the process of curing a ‘session’.  In the session, clients can have a meaningful musical experience by intercommunication.  There are some typical therapies; one kind of therapy is based on the influence of music on the cerebrum (Neurologic Music Therapy), one is focused on thought and activity (Behavioral Music Therapy), another is focused on self-realization and the subconscious (Psychological-Analysis Music Therapy), and still another kind is focused on clients (Humanistic Music Therapy).  We cure. clients based on these theories and therapies.

SMT: I heard that there are many ways to cure people by music therapy.  Please explain the way therapies are applied to a client.
: Many people have the misunderstanding that music therapy cures clients of a disease after the case, but that is not true.  Also, most people know that listening is a typical method of music therapy.  Although listening is one type of music therapy, the extent of music therapy is much wider than people realize. Music therapy is the intercommunication between a client and the music therapist rather than passive listening; it may include playing a musical instrument, improvising, and singing a song. Music therapists mainly cure clients together according to the client’s ability or background. Let’s look at an example.  When a child with autism comes to us, one of the essential abilities lacking in a child with autism is sociality.  Then we develop that skill for him/her through group activities like playing a musical instrument, improvising, and singing.

SMT: So, what kind of music is mostly used for healing clients?  Is popular music used in music therapy?
We do not use a fixed ‘music list,’ but music therapists can choose diverse songs and music according to the client.  Popular music also can be included.

SMT: What is the one effect or expectation of music therapy which makes it different from art therapy or reading therapy?
Music is called the art which follows time.  As our words or thoughts are continued over time, so does music also order our consideration and activity following thought.  Many people react to auditory stimulus.  Music also causes an immediate reaction in people.  This means music is the only way to communicate to the psychological fact of people.  This is connected with social activity and proves that music can be a tool of healing, which can influence people’s activity.

SMT: The current extent of clients mainly includes mentally retarded people, the elderly, and people who suffer from disease.  I heard that anyone can be a client.  Is there any music therapy program for other people besides those listed above? Or for Sookmyungians?
  Our main program for this year is the music concert for healing.  This program is connected with local specialization.  For example in medical-specialized cities, we will hold music concerts for chronic patients.  Also in family welfare-specialized cities, we will hold concerts for juvenile delinquents.  This program is without precedent not only in Korea but also in the world. Many Sookmyungians, especially students who are facing a big recital, have visited the music therapy center in SMU.  Even if you are not that kind of student, every Sookmyungian who needs psychological help or counselling can visit the center.  Also we have planned music activities for high school students as a way of introducing the school’s admission center.

SMT: If a person wants to be a music therapist, how can they go about it?
Sookmyung Women’s University Graduate School of Music Therapy offers two lectures; Music Therapy and Music Psychology.  Through these lectures, ordinary people can make contact with music therapy.  If you want to be a professional music therapist, you have to first learn many kinds of studies like music, sociology, physiology, psychology, and psychoacoustics.   Then in the Master’s or Doctorate courses which take place over 5 semesters, actual training and internship courses are also included.  After you pass these courses, you will be a music therapist.

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