Yes, yes, yes it's all of those things, but it's also a whole lot more. To an outsider looking in, music therapy (MT) can appear to be entertainment. You see someone playing guitar & singing for someone who is smiling & moving to the sound and your brain links this to similar experiences- perhaps a music concert or entertainer you've seen.
Viewing it as a form of entertainment is a totally normal assumption to make based on what you are looking at, but in the case of MT, much more is happening that is perhaps less obvious to un-skilled observers. Think of a jam doughnut. To a foreigner who has never encountered this delicious sweet treat it might look like a plain, bread-like, flattened out ball. But those who know better would see it in all it's sickly sweet glory! The point here is that looks can be deceiving where MT (& doughnuts) are concerned.
Go ahead & picture a young girl singing as her music therapist plays guitar. It looks like fun & she is clearly enjoying herself, but there are a myriad of reasons this activity might have been chosen by her therapist. For example:
Music is often non-confrontational & enjoyable which makes it an ideal creative tool for therapists to use to optimise therapeutic processes or outcomes. Think of it this way, if MT was the aforementioned jam doughnut, the sugar would be the music, the dough the therapist & client working together, & the jam would be the delicious, oozy, sweet, flowing wonder that's created through this partnership.
Make sense? Ok I understand if I lost you with the doughnut but hopefully you get the idea. Music Therapy is first & foremost therapeutic, not entertainment. Music is the toolbox we use to target therapeutic goals and support clients towards improved wellness.
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