The relationship between science and music dates back a LONG LONG time ago in what feels like a galaxy FAR FAR away. When exactly? Let’s do some time travel. Back in the 6th century, there was a man from Rome named Anicius Manlius Severninus Boethius. While this name sounds like a character from the movie Gladiator, he was a famous politician and philosopher (fascinating combo…when in Rome!). Boethius is an incredibly important figure because his work, De Institutione Musica, was one of the first musical works printed in Venice from 1491-1492. Without this very influential piece of work, medieval authors in the 9th century would have had great difficulty understanding Greek music.

There were 3 sections to this work. The Musica Mundana, Musica humana, and Musica instrumentalis. These pieces, for the time they were created, helped explain a relationship between spirituality, music, and harmony within the human body. To Boethius, music was so natural within us that it was impossible to escape it.  There are even instruments made from bones that date over 45,000 years ago. These bone-chilling instruments demonstrate the increasing cognitive abilities that were present in our ancestors and what contributed to the highly complex advancement of the modern human mind!

As the relationship between science and music progressed, a shift in the paradigm occurred. This relationship changed from social science models that focus on human relationship building and well being, to more neuroscience models. This model is based on the neurobiology of music perception driven by the research of music neuroscience. From this research, the clinical and scientific interventions of Neurologic Music Therapy were developed that rewire and retrain the injured brain to facilitate functional non-musical outcomes.

This field of Neurologic Music Therapy continues to advance. As more research is conducted and more information about this amazing and effective field gets out to the public, the more growth occurs. ESPN can’t touch these stats: Over 2500 NMTs have been trained since the academy began in 1999. Currently, 1500 NMTs maintain their certification and work as NMTs in settings like hospitals and private practice. There are 250 advanced training fellows, including 10 on faculty at universities. Since the first training in 1999, 200 trainees from other disciplines received certification in NMT. NMTs work all over the United States and in 25 countries including most of Europe, Australia, Canada, Southern America, and Asian countries. Most importantly, The World Federation of Neurologic Rehabilitation endorses NMT.

Neurologic Music Therapy is teetering on the brink of exploding into everyday language and within other disciplines of healthcare. It is crucial for NMTs to become advocates for this scientific model so everyone in the world can be aware and have access to this kind of care. Here at MedRhythms, our goal is to continue to educate on the life-changing significance NMT can bring to people’s lives. Our vision is to provide the best care we can to those in need with NMT, and to advocate so that everyone has access to care. Things have come a long way from Boethius, but we are closer than we have ever been to understanding the relationship between science and music. The knowledge is here and will keep coming. So to leave you with my favorite musical pun….STAY TUNED!

By: Steph Mathioudakis, MedRhythms Blogger