About the work of a music therapist

Music therapy and music
Sound, music and rhythm are all around us. They are part of us and our nature. Even in our mother's womb, we perceive sounds, heartbeats, voices. When we come into this world, it is our mother's voice and the voices of those closest to us that are the link between us and the "big new" world around us. Music is intrinsically part of us and has accompanied us since the very beginning of humanity, not only to give us pleasure, aesthetic satisfaction and cultivation, but also to bring us physical and mental health, well-being and development. But how can we find, among the flood of sounds with which we are surrounded and often overwhelmed today, music that heals and cures? How do we know music therapy music from all the other tones and sounds?

In music therapy music, the first priority is neither artistic and aesthetic experience (although we experience feelings of beauty) nor purely entertainment (although we often experience a lot of joy and relaxation). The music we are now reading about has a much deeper effect. It is not just a feeling of joy, of pleasant emotions, it is a very welcoming, sensitive way to health, personal happiness and inner freedom. It comes to one in a state of oneness with oneself and the world around us. It is undeniable that we all come from nature and are one with it. Therefore, what heals us is precisely what nature itself gives us.

Holistic Music Therapy by Lubomir Holzer (CMLH)
It is a method of its own based on a holistic approach to the world and to man. The approach itself is based on the assumption that man and the world form a unity. The CMLH method looks at the person as a whole. Never just on a part of it. In practice, this means that we do not act only on the emotions or only on the liver, but on our whole being and all its levels - physical, mental, emotional and spiritual at the same time. What heals is the harmonization of this whole. What heals is the sound itself, which is created by the music therapist (the CMLH method does not use reproduced music) and which is created by playing instruments of so-called music therapy quality, i.e. instruments made of natural materials in natural tuning, with a rich spectrum of harmonic, aliquot tones. Folk, ethnic and old European instruments (before the introduction of tempered tuning) meet these criteria. These include, for example, the shepherd's fujara, the strum, the mouth harp, the shamanic frame drum, the djembe, the didgeridoo, Tibetan bowls, the zither, etc.

Music therapy techniques, whether receptive, where the music is created by the music therapist, or active, where the music is co-created by all participants, are not aimed at developing musical skills, although these can of course also occur. Music therapy is never about musical performance. What is essential is the musical experience independent of musical experience or skill. Such an experience is, among other things, a very valuable means of discovering one's own possibilities, one's own uniqueness, one's own worth, and at the same time strengthening one's belonging to the people and the world around us.
Holistic music therapy at the Alzheimer Centre Zlín

Holistic music therapy works on our cells. It affects our emotions and our immunity.

As a qualified teacher and educational counsellor, she has always been close to the people and today she speaks to them mainly through music as a music therapist. Although Magda Blahová is now retired, this has not stopped her from remaining active and helping people. On the contrary, she can now fully and, as she says, with joy, pleasure, respect and humility, embark on the path of a volunteer. At her age, she is so grateful to be able to offer and give something to others. She has focused her efforts on those with Alzheimer's disease ("Old age is a time, and it's not well said, indeed it's hard to say, a time when no one expects anything from you, a time when no one wants anything from you anymore").

More than 10 years ago, this empathetic and dedicated woman had the opportunity to learn first-hand about a specific method of working with music based on the laws of acoustics and using natural tuning - holistic music therapy - during a seminar on expressive therapies. The way in which holistic music therapy affected her, the personal experience, the energy and the mental well-being it brought her, appealed to her. She was able to observe its health effects on her own body and began to study this therapy, which uses specific music that naturally and physiologically harmonises cellular fluidity, thereby affecting, for example, metabolism or immunity, and to gradually incorporate its elements into her own work.

Holistic music therapy has existed in the Czech Republic since 1991 in the form of the method of PaedDr. Lubomír Holzer (CMLH), who is also its author and a teacher within the lifelong learning programme at the Faculty of Arts of Palacký University in Olomouc. Music in general has therapeutic effects and influence on our emotions and experiences. Although today's music, which uses a tempered, modified tuning based on an artificial arrangement of tones, can bring pleasurable feelings, music with a natural tuning and using a1 = 432 Hz pitch, played on handmade musical instruments made from natural materials, can go even further and bring demonstrably the deepest and most effective therapeutic effects.

"I apply holistic music therapy in a passive form, when I sing and play instruments with natural tuning for lying clients, such as the rain stick, kalimba, Tibetan bowls, bells and cartouches, gong, didgeridoo, djembe, shamanic - frame drum - or mouth harp. The second option is a combined form, in which I also try to actively involve the clients," says music therapist Magda Blahová, describing her regular classes as a volunteer for clients at the Alzheimer's Centre in Zlín. Here, she has ideal conditions for her activities and enjoys the attitude of the management and staff of the facility, who are as helpful as possible. For example, thanks to her involvement in the Czech Radio's national Christmas project "Jesus' Grandchildren", the facility managed to obtain two djembe drums, a musical frog, natural percussion instruments and rattles for the clients.

"When playing the djembe, balafon, kalimba, maracas, shakers or rattles, the left and right hands alternate regularly, stimulating the right and left brain hemispheres and subsequently connecting them. The individual blocks are then interspersed with my own playing and singing to relax the clients," explains Ms Blahová the principle of the therapy and confirms that the results can be observed immediately. When they relax, we notice how they relax in general, including their respiratory system, they can clear their throat, breathe freely, calm down."

Music in its natural tuning harmonizes with man on all levels, in all systems and functions. Clinical measurements have shown that there is a gradual dissipation of emotional, psychological and physical tensions, a slowing and calming of the heart rate, blood pressure stabilizes, and brain activity moves to a relaxing alpha level. Holistic music therapy, as a specialized means of non-verbal communication, in addition to working with the elderly, Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia, is also significantly applied to clients with mental disabilities and combined defects, with behavioural, emotional or sensory perception disorders, brings results in individuals with speech impediments or autistic spectrum disorders, people with ADHD, suffering from epilepsy or neurological or psychiatric difficulties.

"Mrs. Blahová is a wonderful, empathetic and patient person, passionate about the topic of holistic music therapy. She continues to educate herself in this area and is keen to improve the lives of the clients at our centre through her active involvement, as she recognises how important emotions and all experiences are for people with Alzheimer's disease. Everything that manages to create a feeling of satisfaction, confidence and joy in our clients is very important and we take it as a small victory," Helena Nováková, Director of the Alzheimer Centre Zlín, appreciates the almost two years of cooperation. That is why in 2016 she was nominated for the Good Soul Award for volunteer work by Hartmann-Rico and the Ministry of Social Affairs and it was no surprise that she received an honorable mention in this project.

"Alzheimer's disease is a very specific disease and we try to accompany our clients on their journey, to be close to them and to ensure the best possible quality of life even with an already challenging disease. It is both interesting and encouraging to see the positive influence of holistic music therapy on immobile clients, their overall calming down, their satisfied facial expressions, often their willingness to actively engage with facial expressions, small movements or shifts, and especially the eye contact they make," adds the director of the Zlín centre.

More about Alzheimercentrum Zlín: http://www.alzheimercentrum.cz/nase-zarizeni/zlin/

Source: Miluše Kozlíčková Media contact: Miluše Kozlíčková, GSM: 739 571 506 [email protected]

The Alzheimercentrum Group operates a total of 9 facilities specializing in complex, above-standard care for the elderly and the long-term ill. Thanks to its many years of experience, it is one of the leaders in the care of patients with various forms of dementia, with a special emphasis on Alzheimer's disease. The goal of the Alzheimercentrum group is to provide quality care for long-term ill seniors, depending on their needs throughout the day, which will contribute to prolonging their self-sufficiency and maintaining an active life. Currently, the Alzheimercentrum group operates 9 facilities - two in the Central Bohemia Region (Filipov and Zlosyň), two in the South Bohemia Region (Písek and Loucký Mlýn), one in Prague - Průhonice, Jihlava, České Budějovice, Zlín and one in Slovakia in Piešt'any.


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