People who are marginalized and live in subhuman conditions may find themselves assertive and self-confident, thanks to music. For the aged and the infirm, for the infants and the disabled, there cannot be a better supportive companion than music. It is scientifically established that musical input is supportive, not only to the human foetus but also to the premature infants for healthy development.
The ancient system of Raga Chikitsa refers to the application of raga to fight diseases of the body, mind and spirit. Innumerable scientific publications, especially from a multi-disciplinary body of musicologists, immunologists, neurologists and psychologists- have established beyond doubt the need for including music in our everyday living.
Terry Woodford a producer of some ‘baby-go-to-sleep’ tapes claims that a randomized, researcher-blind, placebo pilot study, conducted in the Indiana University School of Nursing has scientifically evaluated his musical output.
It is reported that in the newborn nursery tests, 94% of infants have been successfully put to sleep with neither a bottle nor a pacifier. Explanation given by Woodford is that it is the basic principle involved in relaxation, which has a tendency to put the listeners to sleep. In his experiment, instead of drums, Woodford had employed the sound of a real human heart beat to produce the basic rhythm!
The therapeutic mechanism of music, although recognized for long, was not understood by science till recently. Though laude in out legends and myths, we seemed to be still loitering in the early and controversial stage of this quest.
It is now heartening to note that the recent decades have witnessed and explosion of scientific information on musical impact on mind and body, thanks to the giant strides made in Neuro-imaging techniques, creating thus a new branch of science referred to as ‘neurology’. Through we are still at the very beginning of this quest and much additional research remains to be carried out to understand the prophylactic and therapeutic mechanism hidden in music, our direction is now clear.
In the coming years, one could hope that music would shed its image as a ‘quack’ medicine, and occupy the pride of place as a complementary medicine that goes hand in hand with as anesthesia, geriatrics, physiotherapy, psychotherapy, rehabilitation, surgery.
Through music makes no promise, its importance as a companion for the sick, lonely and marginalized is well-recognized. It facilitates a healthy and fruitful dialogue, especially when you have no one to care for you or even to talk to you!
A healthy and positive attitude towards existence and life is guaranteed to anyone who cares to listen to it. It becomes a dependable strength behind you, when you feel helpless, depressed and dejected. It is the morale booster as it rejuvenates the mind, brings in sunshine and brilliance. Aaron Copland’s words, in this regard, should be written on gold: 'The greatest moments of the human spirit may be deduced from the greatest moments in music!'
Dr T V Sairam,PhD,is the President of the Indian Music Therapy Association, F/48-B, Hari Nagar Hari Kunj, New Delhi 110064. For any doubts you can contact him at - tvsairam @ gmail. com