Music therapy shows the true power of song

Rebecca Erickson
Staff Writer

We all listen to music, but how often do you think about the way it impacts your body? Do you think about your mood, your heartbeat, your breathing?

As Minnesota State University, Mankato students slowly trickled into CSU 201 on Thursday morning, they saw Native American flutes, a hand drum, and a few other interesting instruments.

The speaker for the day’s event, Dr. Annie Heiderscheit soon began by talking to the audience about trauma, what it is and how it impacts all aspects of our body, both mental and psychological

 The good news, though, was that Dr. Heiderscheit knew of a powerful tool that can help clients as they deal with trauma– music.

Dr. Heiderscheit has been a board-certified music therapist for over 29 years. She explained that music therapy is so much more than just listening to music to help you feel better. Music therapy is a relationship between a licensed professional and a client and it provides real benefits. “Music is the only thing we can engage with that activates every part of our brain,” Dr. Heiderscheit said. She explained numerous ways that she helps clients process their trauma through listening to, recreating, and making their own new music. 

The audience then got to see music affecting their own bodies. They took their pulse after listening to calm music for just a couple of minutes. Next, they listened to more upbeat music and took their pulse one more time. It was faster. In just a couple of minutes everyone was able to see music affect their own body.

Soon the group was creating their own music with an ocean drum, a happy drum, a buffalo drum, a monochord and shakers. Layering the instrument’s sounds one at the time, the room was filled with a beautiful sound. Dr. Heiderscheit began to sing “In the Jungle ‘’ and others from the audience soon joined in.

Dr. Heiderscheit explained earlier that creating music helps people bond with each other. You could feel a glimpse of that within the short time the audience played those instruments and sang together. 

 “It opened my eyes… there are more options than I think,” said Rachel Tschann, a music industry student, referring to what she can do within the music field.

“I think a lot of people are skeptical of music therapy, just because they don’t know much about it, but I would really encourage others to actually look into it and see the research behind it because there is a lot of research… It is a very real form of medicine,” Rachel Mueller, a student majoring in music with an emphasis in leadership and a minor in psychology, added.

Header photo courtesy of Flickr.

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