Music is Medicine: Using Art Therapy to Repair Pathways in the Brain
by kyra on September 6, 2016 - 6:13am
In this article, Charlie Jensen tells us about the magnificent use of music therapy for people who have gone through some sort of brain injury, and how it helps them regain what they lost. A woman named Christine Blue, a clarinetist who worked as an elementary school band director in Cleveland, unfortunately got into a car accident that left her in a coma. Doctors didn’t even know if she would wake up, let alone be able to play the clarinet again, but one person really did believe in Christine: a man named Robert McAllister. Robert was known as “dean of the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts”, “a top performing arts education administrator”, and “a pioneer in the field of music therapy”, and is recognized for all of his amazing service.
After Christine had woken up and joined a physical therapy team, Robert decided to join to help her out. 28 long weeks of practicing to relearn the clarinet went by, and lots of progress was made; she could do scales again and play notes. After just 7 months of lessons with Robert, Christine had regained 95% of her clarinet skills. This discovery proved to Robert that his theories indeed do work; that music therapy helped restore the damaged brain pathways that Christine got from her accident.
Now, Robert’s reinstruction method is being brought up in multiple schools and conferences. He helped one person regain a part of her life back, and he will no doubt help many more people in the future.
1: “The music reinstruction approach helps stimulate the reconnection of disturbed brain cells and encourages the brain to create new pathways to the knowledge to replace more damaged pathways.”
2: “Relearning the scale created new brain paths that unlocked pockets of knowledge isolated by her accident. Now, she could regain free access to that previously learned information and use it readily as she played.”
3: “After seven months of lessons with McAllister, Blue regained 95 percent of her clarinet skills and played the first movement of Mozart’s clarinet concerto. Shortly thereafter, she returned to work.”
4. Therefore, music therapy does help restore brain pathways.
Personally, I am very convinced by the author’s conclusion, and the reason why is because there is proof that his conclusion is indeed true. His theory’s and ideas were tested out on a real person who did in fact have damaged brain pathways, and by the end of the music therapy she had regained her skills. Also, since this worked with Christine, I think it will work on others in the future too.
Link to the article: https://www.kcet.org/shows/artbound/the-path-back-home-using-music-instr...