I'm taking this paper at university called 'Music Now: Understanding Music Through the Lens of the 20th-21st Centuries' most of the subject matter consists of articles from Socialist or Communist magazines, but the other day we had a guest lecture talking about music 'therapy'.
"."Music therapy is an interpersonal process in which the therapist uses music and all of its facets—physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual—to help clients to improve or maintain their health."
The lecturer played various video clips from some 'therapy' sessions, ranging from absurd to offensive to plain boring. One clip was a video of a therapist wailing and screeching at a baby, one of a therapist talking baby talk to a different baby, one of some disabled children banging on drums and one of some criminals playing on kiddy instruments you see, they had been sentenced to music therapy rather than prison.
I'll separate my rant on music therapy into two categories: the Bullshit and the Basic.
Music therapists, like other 'alternative medicines' and herbalists claim miraculous things from their so called therapy, from healing to cessation of pain to being an integral part of the cure for cancer (no jokes, the lecturer actually claimed this). When these quacks manage to convince people of their miracles they are potentially endangering lives by leading them away from modern medicine which actually can stop pain, aid the body in healing and we are constantly researching cancer cures. A website I've found quite interesting and helpful in separating the quacks from the real medicine is Quackwatch. As well as their potential for harm, their claims are not proven and some are outright false.
Some of the supposed benefits of music therapy are so ridiculously basic and fundamental to human existence that it's quite ridiculous to think that these people trained for something so simple. Take for example the video of the therapist screeching at the baby, they teach that music stimulates the babies brain and they attach this overinflated sense of profundity to it, when in reality, basic human interaction that engages the senses of a child is just that, BASIC. The fact that we allow these wish-washy quacks to touch our babies and screech at them is sickening, when our parents should be the ones engaging in human interaction, not some stranger.