Discover the healing power of music

Discover the healing power of music

By Margaret Rogers

Nearly all of us enjoy music although our preferences vary widely.  From rock to pop and classical to jazz, most of us feel the urge to tap our feet when we hear it.  Music can do many things including inspiring us, educating us, entertaining us and, if we learn how, it can even heal us.

Sandra Curtis of Concordia University’s Department of Creative Arts Therapies feels that music is like medicine.  Curtis uses music like a tool to penetrate into a deep psychological dialogue with people.  She works with a wide range of individuals including abused children, palliative care patients, female survivors of domestic violence and people who are having workplace difficulties.  She feels that music can go deeper than words by communicating with the listener on a fundamental level using rhythm and sound.

Curtis has worked using music therapy for over thirty years, even though this treatment has not yet reached a mainstream clientele.  She tells of her career and recounts her own journey as a music therapist in an article ‘Music therapy and social justice: a personal journey,’ which is published in The Arts in Psychotherapy.   She says that she has been inspired by pre-schoolers and ‘raging grannies’ along the way.

Curtis examines the history of music as a rallying cry that unites those seeking social justice.  In this context, she takes a look at feminist music therapy.  She says ‘This type of therapy often presents work with an explicit focus on social justice for women, children and other marginalised people, but it can also expand to address such global issues as war and the environment with a feminist understanding of their impact on marginalised people worldwide.’

Curtis is holding a conference at Concordia University on May 5th and May 6th 2012.  ‘Gender, Health & Creative Arts Therapies’ is the first of its kind to delve into issues of gender in health.  She says ‘I eagerly anticipate dialoguing with others who are working in the trenches, outside of the box and in the margins’ and she hopes that members of the local community will join her and others as they enter into a dialogue to help take music therapy even further.

For those of us who live too far away to find out more, we will just have to make do with putting on our favourite CD or LP and sit back and feel the comfort that we all get from our music.


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