Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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World of Music: Benefits of music therapy for insomniac, deaf and mute patients (Part 10)

Tuesday 15/June/2021 - 06:16 PM
The Reference
Ghada Abdelrehim

In the tenth episode of our discussion on the World of Music and its treatment mechanisms, we continue talking about its therapeutic benefits and start talking about the Dalcroze method.

This method works on developing the sense of touch for the deaf, and the sense of hearing and touch for the blind, as well as strengthening his muscular systems and his sense of expression.

It fosters an increase in the interconnection and coordination between muscles and nerves, and the rapid response between the mind and the body, especially in those with motor impairment.

It increases the ability for vigilance and focus, and works on developing personality and a sense of responsibility, as well as strengthening the spirit of cooperation through the influence of collective rhythmic movements.

The method helps doctors treat mental patients, by draining nervous energy and then gaining comfort, balance and psychological calm.

It trains the senses through footwork and reluctance exercises, and training in imitation of voices by singing. All of these means benefit those with special needs.

For blind children, who usually have a strong sense of hearing, they benefit from translating musical sounds into physical expressions by moving in space.

The method helps the paralyzed to move and enables them to achieve jobs that they were unable to do before.

The list of benefits extends to further horizons, whether in supporting those with special needs, or in reviving hope for the cure of mental diseases and raising their morale.


Music in the treatment of weak skin resistance

Experiments were conducted to measure the electrical resistance of the skin. Three pieces of one minute each were played. The first was symphonic, the second was percussion, and the third was light dance music.

The galvanometer proved that the rhythmic music recorded the most reaction, followed by the light dance music, and the symphony was the least. With repetition, the reactions generally began to decrease.


Music in the treatment of insomnia

The result of the experiments proved that after two or three sessions of certain music, insomnia was removed by 75% to 80% of the number of patients, in addition to another type of music that worked on alertness and focus.


Music in dentistry

In the field of the mouth and teeth, we can stress the importance of the psychological and physiological effects. The main factor that allows this phenomenon to exist is the lack of connection between the two major nervous systems: the autonomic and the spinal cord.

We can also obtain this same detachment in Schultz's preferred internal control method of training Détente Psycho-Musicale, which guides the patient. Dentists have made use of music to communicate the patient's sense of relaxation and comfort, and direct the patient's attention to music and away from pain, producing calm feelings and sensations.

In some dental operations for children, the patient is anesthetized by hypnotic music with local anesthetic only, instead of general anesthesia, and after doing the operation, the awakening process is carried out by bird songs with the flute or similar singing sounds.

Music was used during dental filling and other operations, so a device within reach of the patient produces sounds with tones that resemble water purring or the sounds of waterfalls. If the patient feels severe pain, he works to raise the sound, and lower it in case the pain decreases, provided that the music is louder than the sound of the device used by the dentist to clean the teeth. This method pushes the patient away from his fear, relieves pain by drawing his attention away from his pain, and facilitates the doctor's work as a result of the patient's cooperation with him.


Music in speech impairment

Speech impairment stems from various causes, among them congenital failure, which results in the weakening of the organ functions concerned with speech, and its symptoms take the form of stuttering or delay in speech.

Specialists in music therapy have extended to this field and created effective means to treat it, the most important of which is training the tongue and lips by means of songs, with the help of other musical and rhythmic activities. Singing is considered one of the main means of helping the mute and those with speech impairments.


Music for the blind

In an important research by Diserens related to testing the effect of sound on the sensory centers in the brain, it was found that music can develop the perception of the senses in the brain. Kravkov also discovered that music and rhythmic sounds can improve the listener’s visual strength by up to 25%. Some sounds that we do not pay attention to, such as the ticking of a clock, prove that they affect and strengthen our vision.

As for the blind, music educators and therapists believe that the blind get much more positive benefits from music than those with sight.

Crocker stressed the importance of using music with the blind as a means of socially acceptable emotional expression, in addition to inner gratification, with this particular musical benefit being available to the sighted, but it takes a therapeutic consideration for the blind. Crocker added that playing the piano has special benefits for the blind as a means of integrating auditory and sense of movement methods in education.

Stoltz also added that the piano is the best musical instrument for the blind.

On the same subject, Gilliland and Baldwin emphasized the benefits of rhythmic movement for the blind, because it gives them a feeling of physical comfort and also helps them develop feelings of independence. As for Poliden, she believes that movement with rhythm gives the blind a saturated release to move the body freely, as sighted children do. Haldiman came up with additional points to the regular musical educational programs:

• Using vocal music to stretch and relax the muscles of the throat, chest and diaphragm. This is important because blind people tend to be tight and have difficulty finding physical rest and relaxation.

• Teaching music history and taste as an alternative to attending concerts and operas.

• Studying harmony in order to understand music in Braille.

• Haldiman concluded that music is given special emphasis in schools for the blind, because of its seeming intrinsic benefits to those areas of primary interest in the education of the blind, which are personal and social discipline, psychological development, and economic independence.

Stoltz focused in his studies on the need to achieve two goals in helping a blind child:

• Enabling him to take an independent place for himself in the world of sighted by developing his energy, self-confidence and cooperation.

• Pushing him to achieve capabilities and energies that put him on the same level as the sighted.

Hartley believes that music facilitates movement, which leads to an expansion of the blind child's physical energy field.


Music with hearing impairment and deafness

What is meant here is difficulty of hearing or complete deafness, and it can be congenital or acquired.

Some therapists and teachers have found that music has value for the hard of hearing, as the use of percussion gives the greatest benefit to those who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Lane decided that the use of rhythm is the critical factor behind achieving the following goals for the deaf:

• Improving physical compatibility.

• Improving speech through better speech rhythms and sound pronunciation.

• Social rehabilitation by achieving skill and agility in group dance.

Some believe that the deaf child’s reception and discrimination of music is based almost entirely on the sense of touch. If he is given adequate opportunity and direction in this regard, he can distinguish musical vibrations in the form of rhythm and accent pressure, but the big difference is only in pitch.

Others believe that the deaf person is not only distinguished by rhythm and tone pressure, but can also distinguish the pitch of the voice, through the transmission of air vibrations caused by sounds to the human brain other than through the eardrum, either through the skin or through the human bones. The image is from the case of snakes, as they squirm to the tunes of music despite the absence of ears. The music with its rhythm and vibrations reaches the snakes through the skin, as the sense of touch is often strengthened in the deaf, or in others when other senses are missing.

Sister Giovanni believes that a deaf child can learn more about the concepts of high and low sounds if he plays the piano himself.

Wecker recounted an experiment conducted in public schools to assess musical taste and expression in deaf children.

Twelve completely deaf children were selected, and they listened to music through headphones attached to the head, each equipped with a sound regulator. After a period of listening, they were asked to knock on vibrational stimuli. They were able to respond, graduating from a slight height, to two, to a trio, and finally a select group of four children managed to beat rhythmically to a drum stick, with orchestral music, thus giving evidence of response and expression to percussion stimuli.

As for Emile Jacques Dalcroze, he faced this process from a well-known scientific fact, which is that sound is one of the main pillars of music, and that sound in general occurs as a result of vibrations transmitted from the ear to the brain. It is good to note that the deaf can sense these vibrations even though they lack the sense of hearing.

Dalcroze's interest in delivering music to the deaf is of great importance. Deafness leads to effects that go beyond mere loss of a basic sense. A deaf child, regardless of the causes of deafness, cannot adapt or respond to his environment, so he tends to isolate, and thus his motor activity is disturbed. Deafness also affects his weak mental abilities, because mental development is inseparable from responding to the audible world that the deaf lacks.

Hence, the deaf and those with special needs share the inability to focus for a complete understanding of a particular subject, and to draw the consequences of this understanding.

Therefore, Dalcroze was interested in helping the deaf to sense the rhythm and enable them to form an internal concept of sound, believing that the musical abilities may be present and latent in the deaf and that they will remain hidden unless given the full opportunity.

According to Dalcroze's division of rhythm, the delivery of rhythm to the deaf by tapping different rhythms on his body parts enables him to feel them and then perform them physically, and thus one of his aspects can be the activation of his mind.

Dalcroze relied on the theory that he proved, which is the link and interaction between muscle rhythm, visual and auditory, and the effect of each on the other.

Training the blind to read music does not presuppose or require vision to achieve this reading. Rather, this goal can be reached by relying on touch, such as tapping the rhythmic letters, and it should be at the hands of the blind, so the feeling is transmitted to the brain, thus being able to read and understand these letters.