The Healing Power of Music Therapy
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The Healing Power of Music Therapy
  • 김수현 기자
  • 승인 2005.04.06 00:00
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   In the competitive and rapidly changing world that we live in, stress in everyday life is probably inevitable. And the stereotype of most Ewha students being preoccupied with worries about employment, grades, exams, class assignments, and appearance is just the tip of the iceberg of stress a student is confronted with every day. When stress is at its worst, the result is psychological or even physiological illnesses, which cannot be relieved by traditional medical treatment.
   However, a more powerful tool that can work magic, not simply on the illness, but also on dimensions stretching into the spiritual, is music or, more precisely, music therapy. Fortunately, Ewha students have a chance to both learn about this field and try out some of its techniques through the regular elective course on music therapy conducted by Professor Chong Hyun-ju.
   "Say you are angry and stressed at the moment. What kind of music would you listen to?" Prof. Chong asks. One student chooses to listen to loud rock music while one chooses to listen to calm classical music. Though we should take into consideration the fact that people's musical taste varies, Prof. Chong advises that listening to loud rock music is more effective in relieving stress in this case. She states, "Watching the high level of a person's temper with that of rock music and then gradually easing the tension with calm classical music is a better way. Listening to music is just like craving for food. When you crave for a certain type of food, although you could have any type of food to satisfy your hunger, you'll never be completely satisfied until you get exactly what you want. Chances are, you'll eventually crave for it again."
   Though the previous case is a quite self-explanatory and simple method of musical therapy, Prof. Chong defines music therapy as a professional and systematical type of therapy used to bring positive psychological or physiological changes for the betterment of functioning in everyday life. However, it is not necessarily recommended for only those who are diagnosed as having a severe mental illness but generally to those experiencing difficulties, which interfere with their regular life pattern.
   For instance, not being able to wake up in the morning or failing to perform regular tasks properly can be reasons to try music therapy. Though every person has his or her own taste and reason of listening to music, problems coping with daily life are a motivation to ?ntervene in that current state. "Instead of going to hospitals, counseling is fine. You may use music as a projective tool when you don? even know the reason for your stress and tension. Music can help you naturally escape those thoughts," says Prof. Chong.
   Music therapy, which was quite uncommon in Korea, was first introduced to Ewhaians in 1997 when a professor in the psychology department visited France and discovered that every welfare center there had a music therapy program. Her surprise at how much positive change could be brought to people through music motivated her establishment of a course at Ewha.
   Now taught by Prof. Chong, music therapy is one of the most popular elective courses at Ewha, having an average of 200 students for Korean lectures every semester. Prof. Chong states, "Students know the power of music. I think that is the biggest motivation for them to take the course." The music therapy class is also offered in English every fall semester and is open to international students.
   In the competitive and rapidly changing world that we live in, stress in everyday life is probably inevitable. And the stereotype of most Ewha students being preoccupied with worries about employment, grades, exams, class assignments, and appearance is just the tip of the iceberg of stress a student is confronted with every day. When stress is at its worst, the result is psychological or even physiological illnesses, which cannot be relieved by traditional medical treatment.
   However, a more powerful tool that can work magic, not simply on the illness, but also on dimensions stretching into the spiritual, is music or, more precisely, music therapy. Fortunately, Ewha students have a chance to both learn about this field and try out some of its techniques through the regular elective course on music therapy conducted by Professor Chong Hyun-ju.
   "Say you are angry and stressed at the moment. What kind of music would you listen to?" Prof. Chong asks. One student chooses to listen to loud rock music while one chooses to listen to calm classical music. Though we should take into consideration the fact that people's musical taste varies, Prof. Chong advises that listening to loud rock music is more effective in relieving stress in this case. She states, "Watching the high level of a person's temper with that of rock music and then gradually easing the tension with calm classical music is a better way. Listening to music is just like craving for food. When you crave for a certain type of food, although you could have any type of food to satisfy your hunger, you'll never be completely satisfied until you get exactly what you want. Chances are, you'll eventually crave for it again."
   Though the previous case is a quite self-explanatory and simple method of musical therapy, Prof. Chong defines music therapy as a professional and systematical type of therapy used to bring positive psychological or physiological changes for the betterment of functioning in everyday life. However, it is not necessarily recommended for only those who are diagnosed as having a severe mental illness but generally to those experiencing difficulties, which interfere with their regular life pattern.
   For instance, not being able to wake up in the morning or failing to perform regular tasks properly can be reasons to try music therapy. Though every person has his or her own taste and reason of listening to music, problems coping with daily life are a motivation to ?ntervene in that current state. "Instead of going to hospitals, counseling is fine. You may use music as a projective tool when you don? even know the reason for your stress and tension. Music can help you naturally escape those thoughts," says Prof. Chong.
   Music therapy, which was quite uncommon in Korea, was first introduced to Ewhaians in 1997 when a professor in the psychology department visited France and discovered that every welfare center there had a music therapy program. Her surprise at how much positive change could be brought to people through music motivated her establishment of a course at Ewha.
   Now taught by Prof. Chong, music therapy is one of the most popular elective courses at Ewha, having an average of 200 students for Korean lectures every semester. Prof. Chong states, "Students know the power of music. I think that is the biggest motivation for them to take the course." The music therapy class is also offered in English every fall semester and is open to international students.

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