Musical Therapy Turns to Technology

At From the Top, we recognize the benefits of musical therapy and find that there can be powerful healing in music (it’s powerful stuff!). But one composer at MIT is taking it to the next level: combining musical therapy with technology to help people with disabilities discover the joy of music, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Tod Machover’s program, Hyperscore, allows users to create artwork on a monitor, which the computer then translates into a musical score. He took Hyperscore to a hospital for patients with physical and mental disabilities, where a cerebral palsy patient named Dan Ellsey experienced the program. He did so well with Hyperscore–he made CDs and taught other patients–that he was featured in the 2008 TED conference! Other patients who used the program experienced less hallucinations and were even becoming more social.

CDAL members at the Hope Lodge also raised money for the American Cancer Society and performed at Boston's Relay for Life.

Our own Center for the Development of the Arts Leaders became very interested in musical therapy when they worked at the Hope Lodge, where cancer patients being treated in Boston can stay for free.

They designed activities that were more interactive with the residents–including a drum circle, collaborative concerts, games, and writing about musical experiences–to help ease residents from their pain.

Music therapy can have an array of benefits for a variety of different people, including  children, those with mental health problems, and those with Alzheimer’s Disease. The American Music Therapy Association even produces two journals dedicated to researching music therapy.

Perhaps with future advances in technology (and a few science gurus like the MIT students ) our CDAL members can catch onto the new wave of music therapy and help others heal through the sounds they create!