Music therapy is both an art and a science, according to Linda Wright-Bower, who is an assistant professor in the Music Therapy Program at IPFW. "Music therapists use music and their personal skills to help people heal, to achieve wellness, and to change behaviors in a positive direction," she says. "At the same time, the benefits of music therapy can be measured scientifically."
"I love making music with people and helping them write songs that express their true feelings," she says. "The healing comes in the way the music affects the brain, energizes us, and changes our immune system. Music touches our heart and soul in ways that words alone cannot."
Who can benefit from music therapy? The list includes children with special needs or those who have been abused or traumatized, mothers in childbirth, patients who have suffered strokes, people in hospice, grieving relatives, the mentally ill, cancer patients, and many others.
Wright-Bowers' work in music therapy includes holding regional and national offices in the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) for more than 20 years. She also helped formulate the guidelines for education and clinical training for the two associations that merged to form the AMTA.
"Music therapy is active and so is the education," she says. "Students experience personal growth along with their education as a useful bonus. I enjoy turning students on to the power of music and all the possibilities of using music therapy to help people."