Undeniably, these are individual observations, and limited in scientific evidence. There isn’t even a sample size to be spoken of, and the results have not been directly repeated, so it is hard to ascertain the exact effects that music has had upon these people, and whether or not these situations could be replicated with others. However, it is highly likely that there are circumstances occurring like this throughout the country, throughout the world even, that may not be reported, but nonetheless, have value in the fact that they clearly do provide evidence of the restorative properties of music.
Currently, there are some pharmaceutical treatments for Dementias, but, ‘there are many aspects of the condition that remain untreatable using these methods from which there are also often unwanted side effects,’ (Spiro, 2010). As such, I would argue that there is significant gain to be had from pursuing music as a form of therapy for neurological issues. The cost is monumentally small, especially in comparison to chemotherapy, which alone makes it a much more viable treatment route that the NHS could provide, and there are no negative side effects that are thus encountered from ingesting powerful and largely improperly tested drugs.
Music has always been a powerful tool for creating a sense of community, given its complete assimilation with our very culture and society, and subsequently, it enables a younger generation to connect with those who are ageing and losing their cognitive functions to neurological diseases. As a therapy, it is something that those administering and those receiving can both fully immerse themselves in, and this enthusiasm by itself, can thereby go on to have a truly monumental effect, as has been shown in cases such as Sacks’ Jacob L., and the complete reorganization and replenishment of neural functioning.
Music as a therapy for psychological disorders
Music, society and stress:
In our current society, neurodegenerative diseases are not the only obstacle that we face in our attempt to preserve our neurological systems. Mental illness is one of the most common maladies, affecting as many as one in four people, i.e twenty-five per cent of the population. Indisputably, this has a significant effect upon our nation’s productivity, profit, and most importantly, upon our Health care system. There have been numerous scandals with there being ‘no beds,’ for patients suffering from any number of mental health problems, and those that do find a bed, sometimes being displaced hundreds of miles from friends and family,sometimes at a remarkably young age. I believe that the severity of this crisis can be drastically improved with the implementation of music as a form of therapy.
‘When relating wellbeing to musical experience, it is known that musical listening and performance can elicit physiological responses such as shivers down the spine or palpitations,’ (Sloboda, 1991). It is common knowledge that music can impact upon not only the mind but the body too. Sometimes, it is the physical responses that can in turn provide the positive impact upon the psychological state. For example, music can be readily used as a form of relaxation. Of course there are many levels to this sensation of relaxation that can be felt; the usual reason for this feeling is the lowering of blood pressure, which immediately calms the body and mind. Higher blood pressure can simultaneously be a cause of and result of stress, but a piece of music with a steady rhythm, smooth texture and rich blending of instrumental timbres can substantially reduce blood pressure and elevated heart rate.