Theofilou: Lifelong Engagement with Music: Benefits for Mental Health and Well-Being

Lifelong Engagement with Music: Benefits for Mental Health and Well-Being





Music is part of a person’s daily existence and is heard in advertising, film, radio, television and at sporting events. Moreover, music is central in helping participants maintain a sense of well-being and contributes to their subjective experience of good health, regardless of their particular personal medical condition.

The present book highlights some of the latest research in music psychology and its impact on mental health and well-being filling in this way an increasingly salient gap in the music psychology literature. Specifically, it explores how music can promote mental health and functioning in diverse settings, from supporting cognitive development in premature babies to establishing identity and emotional well-being in adolescents, to enhancing brain function in adults and challenging cognitive decline in dementia patients. The emphasis on how music is enjoyed and capitalized upon in diverse ways across the life span makes this volume an excellent resource for practitioners and laypeople alike.

The editors’ scope in the present book is an ambitious response to the upsurge of interest in the role of music in development and enhancement of mental health and well-being within the local Australian context.

The chapters cover a diverse set of topics associated with the effect of music on the brain, the individual, the relationships, the culture as well as the health and illness. These topics are examined in a sequence suggested by the broad section headings below.

Part 1. Benefits of music on mental health and well-being during development

Chapter 1. Frameworks for using music as a therapeutic agent for hospitalized newborn infants (Helen Shoemark, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia and others).

Chapter 2. Musical development in infancy, (Jacinta Calabro, Music Therapy, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne, Australia)

Chapter 3. Non-musical benefits of school-based music education and training, (Anneliese Gill and Nikki Rickard, Psychology and Psychiatry, Monash University, Australia)

Chapter 4. Educating amateurs: New technologies and models to enhance music participation in western societies, (Neil McLachlan, Music, Mind and Wellbeing, Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, Australia)

Chapter 5. Music and adolescents, (Katrina McFerran, University of Melbourne, Australia)

Chapter 6. Musicking and the performance of gender: A double act, (Lucy O’Grady, University of Melbourne, Australia)

Part 2. Benefits of music on mental health and well-being in adulthood

Chapter 7. Music and neural plasticity, (Dawn Merrett and Sarah Wilson, The University of Melbourne, Australia)

Chapter 8. Reconceptualizing ‘musicianship’: Music performance and training through to music reception and engagement, (TanChyuan Chin and Nikki Rickard, Psychology and Psychiatry, Monash University, Australia)

Chapter 9. The Mozart effect: An opportunity to examine the cognitive neuroscience of music listening, (Samia Toukhsati and Nikki Rickard, Psychology and Psychiatry, Monash University, Australia)

Chapter 10. Music listening and emotional well-being, (Nikki Rickard, Psychology and Psychiatry, Monash University, Australia)

Chapter 11. Music creativity and mental illness, (Denise Grocke, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne, Australia)

Chapter 12. Music for dementia and Parkinson’s disease in the elderly, National Ageing Research Institute, Parkville, Victoria, Australia)

It is important to indicate that each chapter includes syntheses of literature and presentation of new data on pertinent topics in the fields of music education, music therapy and synaptic plasticity. As such the volume will be of particular value to advanced tertiary students, researchers and clinicians as well as professionals in other fields who wish to learn more about the work of these disciplines.

It is an excellent book being the outcome of an innovative and successful inter-institutional teaching collaboration between two of Melbourne’s leading universities. Most of the authors have contributed to the teaching of mirror music psychology units taught at Monash University and the University of Melbourne, and this provides an exceptionally useful resource for the students in these courses.

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