Written by Melissa Reinhardt, MSEd, MT-BC
Neurologic Music Therapist
Music Therapy Internship Director
I recently completed training to become a Neurologic Music Therapist (NMT) at The Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy. This 4 day intensive training (virtual!) opened my eyes to a new way to use music to help the clients that I work with. After 25 years as a practicing music therapist, I realized I was pretty set in my ways of how I “did” music therapy. After the training, however, I now know there is so much more research and specific ways to use music that has been scientifically proven to change the brain.
NMT is an evidence based practice based on the “therapeutic applications of music to cognitive, affective, sensory, language and motor dysfunction due to disease or injury to the human nervous system.
Thaut & Hoemberg, 2014
So, what does that mean? Many years of research, particularly over the last 20 years as technology has enabled neuroscientists to conduct brain imaging studies, has shown that music changes the brain. To be honest, I was aware of this, but I did not really understand how or why music can affect our brains in so many different ways.
How do we know that music is so deeply embedded in our brain? Let me give a few points to consider:
These are just four simple examples that music is processed throughout our brain, it connects the right and left hemispheres, it can create new synapses to replace damaged ones, restore language networks and functional speech/language, stimulate speech centers, is effective in cognitive rehabilitation training and helps to access memories.
Research has demonstrated that persons with the following diagnoses/disorders may benefit from Neurologic Music Therapy: Alzheimer’s Disease, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Autism, Stroke, Parkinson’s to name a few. Interested in learning more? Please visit our private practice page with more details on music therapy treatment.
Providing music therapy services for early childhood to older adults, music instruction and enrichment plus continuing music therapy education in Greater Charlotte Area of the Carolinas.