Music as Medicine


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Transcript


Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Robin Basselin.

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And I’m Colin Lowther. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

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This is the sound of a cello. The musician concentrates on the music. He also wants the people listening to concentrate. He does not want them to sleep! This would be an insult to the music and the musician.

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But Briony Ming feels differently. She is happy when her music sends people to sleep. Briony is a music therapist. She is trained to use music to help people. Today’s Spotlight is on music therapy.

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Our ancestors knew how music can calm troubled people. The Christian Bible tells a story about an ancient king, Saul. King Saul suffered from fits of anger. He employed a young boy, David, to calm him with music. This was three thousand years ago. You can still read a collection of David’s songs in the Christian Bible.

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More than 1,000 years ago, the Muslim scientist Al-Farabi also wrote about music. He wrote about the good effects music could have, especially for suffering people. He talked about this treatment in his book, “Meanings of the Intellect.” This may be the first book about music therapy!

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Ancient words from India also tell us:

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Listening to the happy music of the yazh puts people in a state of spiritual joy. It helps them to forget the pains of the world.

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Calming troubled minds. Helping suffering people. Bringing spiritual joy. Music can help people who are suffering mentally or physically. It can bring joy, and peace. Now, modern medical experts also recognize these effects.

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Briony Ming is among those who lead the way in this form of treatment. Briony works in a hospice. This medical centre cares for people who are dying. Briony believes that playing music can bring peace to people who are frightened or in pain. Briony talked about her work to local newspaper, This is Hull and East Riding. She said that music has a big effect on patients:

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“It is about giving them emotional support. It helps them express themselves. It helps them to communicate when words are not enough, or when it is not possible for them to communicate. It is possible to enjoy yourself and use the life you have left.”

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Briony cares for people of all ages -- from young children to those who are very old, helping them to make the most of their remaining days. It can be very difficult, but she says it is an honour to work with these people.

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The hospice in England where Briony works has a music room. There, Briony and her patients can play music. She likes to perform songs from the past. People enjoy it when she sings songs they remember from earlier and happy times in their lives. In the future, Briony also hopes that patients will be able to record their own music. She explains:

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“Everyone has songs that are part of who they are. It can be a way to connect with their past, with the music that connects to events in their lives. Some people do not think that they are interested in music, but it can bring back memories. It is part of who we are.”

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This part of music therapy is very important. Experts say that music can help people with memory problems. It can bring back memories - both good and bad. But it can also help in other areas. For example, a person with a brain injury may have problems speaking. But, with other treatments, music can help a person communicate. It can help a person learn to speak again. This is because music affects different parts of the brain. As a person listens to music, it builds connections in the brain. These new connections can help with healing.

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A stroke causes very serious injury to the brain. During a stroke, the brain does not get enough blood. This can cause parts of the brain to stop working. People who have had a stroke often have problems talking and moving. In studies with stroke patients, music has made a big difference. When combined with other treatments, patients who have music therapy show many improvements. They speak more easily. They have better, stronger movements. They also have less pain.

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But music also just makes people feel good. For people with emotional problems, music can build relationships. For people with deep sadness, music can create a feeling of hope and joy. This is true for Briony’s patients. Briony describes it this way:

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“It is about being with people in their sicknesses. It is about helping them find a way to deal with this experience. Having fun can be part of that. We invent musical games. Playing is sometimes a way of exploring how we feel. It can be a release of emotions. For people who have communication difficulties, music is a way of talking without having to use words.”

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A person does not have to be a skilled musician to experience these good results. Often, people do not believe that they can play music. But this is not true! Most people enjoy singing. Learning to play an instrument is also very helpful to a person’s brain. A person does not have to be an expert. And everyone can enjoy listening to music! Briony explained it this way:

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“When people are worried, afraid or in pain, music is not a wonder cure. But it can help.”

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What do you think about music therapy? Has music helped you during a difficult time in your life? Give your opinion on our website at http://www.radioenglish.net.

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The writer of this program was Alan Harris. The producer was Nick Mangeolles. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Music As Medicine’.

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You can also leave your comments on our website. Or you can email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also find us on Facebook - just search for spotlightradio. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

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Question:

Has music ever helped you in a difficult time in your life? What kind of music do you think can help?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
GelezniyDen
said on August 20, 2011

Hello hey hi everyone and good day all people who live in this beautiful world. I don’t understand people who live without music and often just don’t listen it I just can’t as. I listen music all my life and listen it in different situation and when I play and when I work and when I drive my car. I like it so much and music it is just part of my life and with different songs connected different parts of my life people listen music and be happy. I also want to appreciate all persons who worked above this article thank you. Good luck everybody!

Avatar Spotlight
nature187_vn
said on September 16, 2012

While I am reading this story,I listen my favorite music.It’s really comfortable and help myself feel relaxing after the days hard working.I think the music is one part of the life in the morden society now.

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Rain Bows
said on September 16, 2012

Listening to good music is always helpful.
I like listening to zen meditation music or jazz while I’m taking a shower, that makes me feel like in a spa, sometimes I feel in the Nirvana!
Also, I think it is important to be careful about what type of music we hear.Sometimes the rhythm is just contagious or sounds cool, but the lyrics does not tell us good messages, we should not listen to that type of music cause it’s content are not a good example.
Instead peaceful music take us to peace.
Thanks for the program.
Greetings from Manta-Ecuador.

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AguirreRomel
said on October 27, 2015

Hello, in my opinion music is a great kind of lenguage
when you listen music you can be yourself

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Mfred
said on March 31, 2020

I know from direct experience that Mozart’s music is helpful in raising morale, generally it puts you in a good mood, but I am sure that in Heaven the music most listened to by angels is that of Bach, in particular the piece by JS Bach: Suite No 3 In D, BWV 1068-2. Air.

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Honneur
said on March 31, 2020

I often say that music is a medicine for the soul. I play guitar more or less and it gives me a lot of pleasure and entertainment. Living in an apartment, I must be careful not to upset my neighbors when I play guitar and sing old compositions in Portuguese, Spanish and English ... I know I’m not the best guitarist and singer in the world, but that doesn’t matter ...

Avatar Spotlight
Vananh
said on April 03, 2020

The music is magical.  It can calming troubled minds. Bringing spiritual joy. Music can help people who are suffering mentally or physically. It can bring joy, and peace.  In addition, music is a therapy for people who are stressed, tired, and suffer from psychological illness.  The power of music is tremendous.  And there are many other effects of music on people in life.

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Honneur
said on April 03, 2020

I agree integraly with Vananh.

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on May 12, 2020

From : .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
To : spotlight programs
Subject : to answer to the questions below
Tuesday 12, May 2020
São Paulo SP Brasil

Dear Robin Basselin, Colin Lowther, Alan Harris, and Nick Mangeolles:

Fisrt, I want to thank you for bringing us that important article, thank you very much.
Question 1 - Has music ever helped you in a difficult time in your life?
Answer 1 - Yes, it has. When I get home from work, I get very tired and sad because I work so much because one, two, three patients have died from (COVID 19).
As a nurse I struggle together with my team into the Intensive Care Unit of the Hospital where I work for to see our patients to get the cure from that bad sickness but unfortunately that does not happen always.
So, the music has happened me to forget the sadness that I bring with me every work day.
Question 2 - What kind of music do you think can help?
Answer 2 - Well, I think we should listen to the music that we like to listen to but the pleasant music, romantic music, and a gospel music these are a good choice to listen to at home.

Thank you very much
Severino Ramos
Brasil