This is a new page about music therapy. I will update with more thoughts now and then.
Last update 20081031.

About music

Music has an important function in our life. From new-born to death the music is following us. We will meet it in different shapes in our religion, in our culture, when we meet other cultures, when we need relaxation. It is used for distraction (in aeroplanes during take-off and landing), in department stores to get us in a feeling of wanting to buy more. It gives us a feeling of belonging to a certain community.

An example: A lot of our youngsters today get a lot of their identification through music, they find a group community when they listen to a special music and where special clothes fitted to this music. Along with the music style they also get a direction line for opinions, how to behave and so on. This is an important part of life, to be able to test and a lot of our young people have to go through a lot of different styles, different music and different way of expressions on their way to separate from their parents and be secure grownups. Because most of our kids grow up to be responsible and good members of our society, even if they sometimes gives us a lot of grey hair on the way.  So how we will react upon the music we hear will depend on where we are in life just now, how what we are wearing inside ourselves just in this moment. 


Other things that influence how we react to music are our musical habits – if we know the music genre or not. Also will our personality, our disposition (laggning) influence how we react to music.

The culture, the society we live in will also influence our opinion about music.



The history of Music therapy?

The history of music therapy is long. It started back in the antique Greece. For them making music was trying to get in harmony with the whole cosmos. And they also had the idea that music was good for keeping your health, so everyone who went to learnt medicin also had to learn how to use music. In the history of medicin the focus on health has been as important as the curing of illness. And up until 19th century music was an important part when you were studying medicin. But in the 19th century new wind start to blow, and  in medicin we started just looking at the body and put away the soul. It was not until the 40`s that some hospitals started using music therapy in their treatment again. Today you find music therapy documented in about 40 countries around the world.


 Expressiv and receptiv music therapy

Musictherapy can mean a lot of different working methods and a lot of different fields to work with. But there are two main lines.

Expressiv music therapy: this method is built around an activ playing of instruments between the therapist and the client where the therapist in the music change between following the client or to challenge him. Another way of working is to let the client express his feelings and thoughts in the music.

Receptiv music therapy: the client is lying on a sofa listening to music and tells the therapist what comes up in his mind during the listening.

Most music therapists complements their music with movements, arts, dance and drama.  

Even Ruud, a norweigan music therapist thinks that

-          The music helps the client to find new ways to strenghen his possibilities,

 -          The music helps the client to activate their emotion life and helps building up the identity and self-estem.(Ruud: 1980). 


And when we train the clients talent to become more attentive, more concentrated, to get more self-estem, his talent of being orienteted, his language and his social functions we will help him get over the obstacles that are standing in his way for a richer life. (Ruud:1980)



Important to remember is that children and teenagers are not troublesome because they like it. Every behavior they show you, all the problems we see are just symtoms, their defense for surviving., their way of showing something is wrong. It is a normal reaction of what we grown-ups try to put on them which they can´t bear.

So we need to change our way of seeing this students. Instead of seeing disorderly, restive and non-cooperative students we have to understand that they are telling us something, something important. That somewhere on the way something gone wrong and this defense is just their way of surviving.  And don´t look at this defense as a problem –because it is the entrance – a door to the another side of the students. Because nobody wants to stay outside the community – the social life. It is just that they need help to get there.

When you work with children with different skills it is important to have an open mind, to start without prejudicedes. To be able to listen to them with an open heart.

Some of the young people I meet has learned that if you can’t get love at least you can be respected because you are dangerous. And it is a lot of work and patience to change that sort of thinking in a young persons mind. To be respected is important for everybody no matter how you get it.

And with this said it is important to remember that it is a big difference between to listen and understand another person and something totally different to set limits or accept her behaviour. 

But if we want to help someone to be able to change their behaviour we must remember that no person change their way of life and put away their defences if they not have something better to go on to.

And to find that it is important to work with the students possibilities and to strengthen their self-esteem.  And we need to start where they are, not where we want them to be.


Self imagen and self confidence

As teacher it is important to understand the difference between self imagen and self confidence.

Self imagen is our inner picture of ourself. How well we know ourself and how we relate to that information.

Self confidence is our knowlegdes, what we have learned, what we know or not know.

Good self imagen also give good selfconfidence, but unfortenally the opposite is not a rule. Selfconfidence is rather easy to give but the self imagen comes from the inside so to build that up we need to listen  and see where the student ís in their life now and start from where they are. 


Music therapy tools

Tools to use is:

Intuition – trust your intuition because is is often reading the underlines (in your body) to what´s happening.

Empathy – to read the underline message of the students. To think about what they express and not how they behave.

Trust- to really show the student that you believe in them. That you have faith in that they can make it. (If you don´t believe – why should they believe!)Acknowledgement – everybody needs to be confirmed. Acknowledgement is based on everybodys common value, which is a way to be, not a communication technique.

Respect – means to have the same respect for the students values that you want them to have for yours.A teacher can use therapeutic elements but with cautiouness, because the intent should be to improve the students good sides – not make big regressions.


Can a teacher use music therapy?

I often get this question. And the answer is both yes and no. If you go in to a therapeutic situation then you also have to take a responsibility for what you have started - for instant a strong regression. You has to know that you are able to take care of what you started. So if you just look at it this way the anwer is no.



Every situation with students are a meeting, a relation between two individuals so as a teacher you will have to prove your capability for empathie, containing and tolerance every day.

A teacher who dares to meet his students on a level where the meeting is open, minded, in other words without saying “I`m your teacher and I know more than you – that gives me my status” will have meetings that even though they all the times are from a pedagogic wiev  also will be moving in a lot of other levels.

-  A teacher is always somewhere between the pedagogic and the therapeutic fields. But many times it is enough just to listen to the problems of the student, to really listen, many times without commentaries, it is enough just to be there.  As teacher we can use music for relaxation, concentration, stimulate learning, strengthen the self-esteem, train motoric, fantasy, speech, language and train social functions.


Examples of way to use music


 ”Hey there John” 

Hey there John, hey there John

Hey there John, nice to see you here



Here we get the group

- aware of who is present,

- practising to be in the center and to be a part of the group, 

- to be able to wait for his turn,

- training the name in the group,

- training to say your name in the group,

- we are telling the group that something new is starting which will increase the concentration of the group. 


Rhymes can train a lot. Imagen we are out on adventure and we arrive to an island. We go abroad, and it could be snakes in the grass so perhaps we better stamp very hard in the grass when we are going.



Hey  and ho stamp while your walking
Hey and ho stamp while your walking

Sch sch sch walk as quiet as you can
Sch sch sch walk as quiet as you can

Hey and ho walk as you want
Hey and ho walk as you want
Hey and ho now is a stop

Quiet!   I think I heard something!



 This simple rhyme will train

- motoric,

- perception,


- language,

- concentration,

- improvisation

- fantasy.  


First time I was in Sucre I worked with Emilio who is a teacher at PSICOPEDAGOGICO (and working in classes with handicaped children).

During my three weeks in the school he was working with what things are important for the students to remember when they are getting a work. From a lot of different views we worked with the importance of being in time, being honest, keeping clean, taking responsibility and to be carefull.

I was very impressed with his way of working, with his way of seeing all his students and his way of individualising the work so every student could work from his own possibilities. So my work was to show him how he could improve his work with music. So together we wrote a song abouyt the values of work: 


Voy a buscar un trabajo
Contestar con el jefe preguntar
Claro yo soy honrado
Claro yo soy punctual
Claro yo soy responsable
Claro yo soy limpiado
Claro yo soy meticuloso 


We had a lot of intresting discussion with the students which also included how they had it at home, their relations in their families and how a friend should act and what was the quality of a friend.