Um espaço para partilha de ideias relacionadas com as práticas artísticas
e os seus efeitos terapêuticos, com destaque para a vertente musical

domingo, 4 de outubro de 2015

Jamming With Your Toddler: How Music Trumps Reading For Childhood Development - part I

Forget the Mozart Effect and Baby Einstein, take it easy on acquisitions for your two-year-old’s private library, and don’t fret if your three-year-old hasn’t started violin lessons just yet.

The key to unlocking a child’s potential intelligence and happiness may indeed lie in music, but succumbing to the commercial juggernaut that is the baby-genius-making industry may not be in either your child or your wallet’s best interest. Instead, try making up songs with your toddler. 

A new study suggests that regular informal music-making with very young children may even have benefits above and beyond those of reading. But there’s an important, interesting, and somewhat beautiful catch – for best results, make it shared music-making in your home.

In an analysis of data generated from a study involving more than 3,000 children, a University of Queensland team investigated the associations between informal home music education for very young children and later cognitive and social-emotional outcomes.
The team found that informal music-making in the home from around the ages of two and three can lead to better literacy, numeracy, social skills, and attention and emotion regulation by the age of five.
By measuring the impact of music and reading both separately and in combined samples, the researchers were able to identify benefits from informal music activity over and above shared book reading, most strongly in relation to positive social behaviour, attention regulation and to a lesser but still significant extent, numeracy.

Part of an Australian Research Council funded study titled “Being and becoming musical: towards a cultural ecological model of early musical development”, the study aims to provide a comprehensive account of how Australian families use music in their parenting practices and make recommendations for policy and practice in childcare and early learning and development.

Last month, the team was awarded the inaugural Music Trust Award for Research into the Benefits of Music Education.

Science has shown that music’s effect on the brain is particularly strong, with studies demonstrating an improvement in IQ among students who receive music lessons. Advantages in the classroom have been identified for students who study musical instruments, and the effects of ageing on cognition may even be mitigated through lifelong musical activity.

Info from IFLScience

terça-feira, 8 de setembro de 2015

"As a music therapist I can give people back the power to communicate"

"I practised as a full-time music therapist for 20 years, mainly in the field of adult mental health as part of a large NHS mental health trust. It was during this period that I began to combine my clinical role with supporting the development of the profession. Along with another colleague, we developed a new MA course at Anglia Ruskin. This course became the first masters course in music therapy in the UK. I continued to work as a music therapist and today, we have our own new state of the art music therapy centre at Anglia Ruskin, where we not only train students, but also deliver clinical work with local children and adults, as well as lead a pioneering research department.

I have always been passionate about the potential for music to change people, situations, and particularly to help communication when words are not available. I am a singer, pianist and violinist and using live music has been central to my work where music is used to work towards therapeutic change for adults with a variety of mental health problems including dementia, schizophrenia, depression and personality disorder. 

Latest studies show both that music affects the brain positively, and also that regular music therapy sessions reduce agitation and anxiety, and the need for medication for people with dementia. Leaving someone without the power to communicate is not right – music has the power to address that. Music therapy addresses the emotional, physical and intellectual needs of people with dementia and I have just begun talks with the local NHS trust where I work about referring more people with dementia for music therapy."

Helen Odell-Miller

Helen Odell-Miller @ The Guardian 

quarta-feira, 12 de agosto de 2015

How music acts as medicine for the soul

Henry, an elderly man living in a US nursing home and largely unresponsive to the outside world, receives a pair of headphones to listen to his favourite artist, Cab Calloway .

The neurologist Dr Oliver Sacks, who's involved with the project, describes Henry as "almost unalive", but as soon as the music starts there's a complete transformation. He starts moving and singing along, becoming animated. "The philosopher Kant once called music the 'quickening art' and Henry has been 'quickened' – he's been brought to life," Sacks says in the video.

But the effect doesn't stop once the music is turned off. Though he's normally unable to answer the simplest questions, Henry now starts speaking about his love for music, how it makes him feel, and singing I'll Be Home for Christmas, remembering every single word of the lyrics. It's almost magical.

There's a charity here in the UK that knows all about how music can transform the lives of those who suffer from autism, dementia, and a whole range of mental health problems. The work of the founders of Nordoff Robbins – Paul Nordoff, an American composer and pianist, and Clive Robbins, a special education teacher – began more than half a century ago, as they used music therapy to help isolated and disabled children. In 1980 the charity bearing their names was established in the UK.

Nordoff and Robbins discovered music's power to open up the senses and "reawaken" people with dementia doesn't only come from the familiarity of favourite songs. In a mesmerising video, one of the charity's music therapists starts communicating with a woman whose dementia has lead to the loss of speech, by doing a sort of singing and guitar-playing call-and-response. In another one, Jack, an autistic boy with severe learning difficulties, lights up and starts to communicate not only by singing, but with his whole body.

But music can also have a calming and healing effect on those with mental illnesses. Nordoff Robbins works with Lance, who lives with schizophrenia and says music therapy makes him "feel more human again" and is "a haven from intrusive bad thoughts and depression".

The charity provides music therapy at his local centre for people with mental health problems, where he plays guitar, often supporting other people's songs. "I feel that music is holding my hand through all this," he explains.

The therapists who go into schools, hospitals, care homes and prisons, help people communicate where words have failed, raising their confidence, self-esteem and sense of joy through music, one of the most powerful remedies that can't be bought from pharmaceutical companies. Music is medicine for the soul.

Info from The Guardian

quinta-feira, 23 de julho de 2015

“Play It Again, Sam”: How the Use of Music is Reawakening the Minds of Many Individuals Battling Dementia.

Written by Robert Maxwell, speech-Language pathologist

To say there has been a recent increase of videos on the web highlighting the power of music with individuals with dementia would be a vast understatement. From caregiver videos flooding YouTube to more carefully crafted films, such as Alive Inside, exploding on the scene, the individual stories being told are nothing short of remarkable.

But what does this mean for us as speech and language pathologists? And what does research say about the overwhelming number of anecdotal stories being touted on the internet? The answer to both questions is, A LOT! Many resources, such as the nonprofit organization MUSIC & MEMORY, now offer an extensive list of research citations that highlight the clinical benefits that listening to music can have on cognition and communication. It’s not just researchers taking notice of the mounting evidence. As the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services makes a push to decrease inappropriate use of antipsychotic drugs in long-term care settings, some of its efforts go toward funding personalized music programs to help address agitation and other behavioral concerns in a non-pharmacological way. Many states are also embracing this approach with great clinical outcomes to report.

So do we all switch professions and become music therapists? Of course not. The need for skilled speech therapists to directly target cognitive-linguistic deficits in long-term care settings is more important now than ever as the aging of our population and the dramatic rise in dementing illness converge, but the research and these dramatic personal stories should make us take pause and reconsider the environments in which we practice. As therapists we have a unique opportunity and perspective to be client advocates.

What information can we share, what videos can we show and whose life can we touch to be a catalyst for change in our communities? Consider your impact and take action today. Still need convincing? Let me leave you with one final image. Watch as Naomi Feil, founder of Validation Therapy, makes a power connection with Ms. Gladys Wilson. I wonder how many speech therapy screen forms were sitting in her medical chart stating she was “non-communicative” when this was filmed. 

Info from blog.ASHA

domingo, 21 de junho de 2015

The wild classical music ensemble

Today I had the opportunity to see The wild classical music ensemble performing at Cinquantenaire (Brussels, Belgium) on the occasion of the "Fête de la musique". So, I decided to present them to you.

The wild classical music ensemble is a musical project launched by the association vzw.with in november 2007. Thanks to vzw.with, Damien Magnette, sound artist and drummer had the chance to meet Linh Pham, Johan Geenens, Rudy Callant and Kim verbeke, 4 artists with a mental disability. These 4 artists are working in different fine art media, but they also showed a will and talent to make music. 

Originally the band focused on free improvisation, sound and object experimentations tied together with orchestration signs and experimental music notations. Lately they have begun incorporating the punk/rock riffs from guitarist Kim Verbeke, broadening their sound into a free punk noise rock hybrid. After a several year trip in that formation, they welcomed Sebastien as a new member. He plays home made bass percussions and sings with great energy and inspiration. As a sextet, the band as developped a tighter, stronger energy and sound. 

The Wild Classical Music Ensemble is collaborating time to time with other orchestra. They've worked for instance with Spectra ensemble on a more contemporary music-oriented project. For this very special collaboration between classical musicians and self thaught musicians, the composer has devellopped a video-animated visual partitude.

The band gave concerts in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Germany and Switzerland and is willing to go further!!

Their second album, "tapping is clapping" is released the 17th april 2015 on Born bad records, Humpty dympty, Aredje, Et mon cul c'est du tofa and Attila tralala.

More info Wild Classical

domingo, 24 de maio de 2015

Stressed? This Dog May Help

Each morning, Cali, an 18-month-old Rhodesian Ridgeback, patiently waits for the K-12 students to pass through the doors of the Calais School in Whippany, N.J. As they walk by, Cali sniffs each one. Cali is a cortisol detection dog, trained to detect the stress hormone our adrenal glands secrete when we become anxious or stressed.

When we are agitated, cortisol levels in our bloodstream rise. It’s Cali’s job to let Casey Butler, her handler, know if a student’s cortisol levels are high. If they are, that student spends time talking with Ms. Butler and Cali to help defuse the stress. “The children feel safer with Cali around,” she explained. “They tend to open up more.”

Many of the students at Calais are on the autism spectrum; some have attention deficit disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and other challenges that can trigger anxiety and other difficult emotions.

Like most service dogs, Cali is extremely quiet and unassuming. “The students don’t like it when a dog jumps on them,” explained Ms. Butler, a health teacher who is a certified specialist in natural canine behavior rehabilitation and in animal adaptive therapy.

Cali was brought to the school last year from a local nonprofit called Merlin’s Kids that trains service dogs to work with special-needs children. “Some schools with a special-needs population have service dogs that visit and work with the students as a once-in-a-while activity,” said David Leitner, executive director of the Calais School. “We thought having a service dog on staff would benefit our students.”

It was a decision that was presented to the teachers and staff at the school, and met without opposition. “A lot of us know people with service dogs, and we have seen how beneficial they are,” said Diane Manno, the principal at Calais. “And in just a short time, we have seen how Cali has helped our students.”

When Cali spots an anxious student, and Ms. Butler asks the student whether he or she is feeling stressed, the typical response is “I’m O.K.” Ms. Butler counters by saying, “Cali told me otherwise.”

A ninth grader agreed. “Cali can help us cope with our problems so that we don’t have to get through it by ourselves,” she said. “She is loving, intuitive and goofy.”

A few weeks ago, in Ms. Butler’s office, Cali started pacing, alternately moving toward the door and nudging Ms. Butler. “She led me up one flight of stairs to the opposite end of the building, where we found a girl starting to have a meltdown,” she said.

Noticing Cali, the student asked if she could pet her. Ms. Butler told her not yet. “I first make sure Cali is safe,” she said. “Within a few minutes of seeing Cali, the student calmed down.” Only then does she reward students by letting them pet, brush and — sometimes — walk Cali.

It’s their uncanny sense of smell that allows dogs like Cali to detect rising cortisol levels in our sweat or breath, and identify a student having trouble even in a faraway classroom, said Nicholas Dodman, director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. “Humans have 12 million smell receptors in their nose. At the lowest estimate, dogs have 800 million. Scent hounds like beagles and bassets have up to four billion. A dog’s ability to smell odors is beyond our comprehension.”

Cali takes part in story time. Credit The Calais School 
At the end of the school day, the students board the buses back home, and Cali goes home with Ms. Butler. In a few weeks a second service dog will join the crew, a beagle named Cleo, an occupational and speech therapy dog. The students will work with Cleo to improve their fine motor skills by opening and closing the buttons and snaps on her harness, and will practice their oral and social skills by reading to her.

terça-feira, 12 de maio de 2015

Como a música pode melhorar a saúde

Usada como terapia, a música é capaz de melhorar a concentração, alterar o estado de espírito e ajudar a combater algumas doenças.

O Daily Mail reuniu alguns dos mais recentes estudos que comprovam o quão poderosa pode ser a música na saúde e na mente. Algumas melodias possuem efeitos mais notórios do que outros, mas a verdade é que a música é já usada como terapia no combate ou cura de determinadas doenças, especialmente psicológicas.

Em 2008, escreve a publicação, o Centro Médico da Universidade de Maryland, nos Estados Unidos, concluiu que a música, principalmente a clássica, consegue ajudar na redução da pressão sanguínea. Músicas agradáveis conseguem deixar o sangue mais fluído em 26%, enquanto sons relaxantes apenas o fazem em 11%.

Como a música pode melhorar a saúde

Mas se há músicas com efeitos benéficos, existem compositores capazes de autênticos milagres. Conta o Daily Mail que um estudo sueco de 2005 revelou que os pacientes operados a uma hérnia que ouviram música durante a cirurgia tiveram menos dores no pós-operatório. Mas Bach e Louis Armstrong conseguem resultados ainda mais notórios: uma investigação de 2011 indica que estes dois grandes nomes da música ajudam a que sejam dados menores doses de anestesia em determinadas cirurgias, incluindo a de colocação de próteses na anca.

Dois anos depois, um outro estudo relacionou a música com o combate à demência. Tese reforçada com uma investigação de 2013, que concluiu que os doentes com demência que ouviam música como forma de terapia tinham menos necessidade de tomar antidepressivos ou outro tipo de medicamentos.

O coração e a música são também dois bons aliados, como indica um estudo que revela que algumas canções “melhoram a variação dos batimentos cardíacos” e reduzem os riscos de ataque cardíaco. Além disso, um estudo da Western University, no Canadá, indica que a música é capaz de acelerar a recuperação de AVCs.

Há três anos, uma investigação publicada no Journal of Nursing Studies revela que as músicas relaxantes são a melhor forma de adormecer depressa e manter uma noite tranquila de sono.

Mas não é só ouvir música que faz bem. Conta o Daily Mail que cantar pode ajudar a combater a asma, uma vez que permite melhorar a respiração e aprender quais os limites de cada pessoa.

Fonte: Notícias ao minuto