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Music as Therapy

I have to share a recent article written by Michael Tyrell/Wholetones. I personally possess a B.A. in Piano Performance, a B.S. in Vocal Music and an M.A. in Music Education. I also earned a Doctorate in Practical Theology. My M.A. included a number of music therapy courses, as well as having a music therapist on my orals board. Yet, my official degree in not in ‘music therapy,’ even though I have also earned two Sound & Healing Therapy Certifications, having completed the many hours of coursework to obtain them. I could not state this any better than Tyrell, as he speaks absolute truth. I, like Tyrell, consider my Sound Expressions Sound & Healing Therapy music (Visit Latest Products on the left sidebar at The Arts Expressed OR Products Page at Sound Expressions) to be a supernatural gift I will continue to create/release all the days of my life!

“The focus of this week’s letter is to make you aware of a bureaucratic nightmare that is affecting musicians (like myself) who compose music designed to help people. Let me explain. Since the beginning of time, music in its organic form has been a source of healing and worship, and its benefits are well documented. One would be hard pressed to dismiss the works of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Handel, etc., as anything less than glorious therapy for the weary soul. With that being said, the lion’s share of master musicians (King David inclusive) did not have “credentials” as music therapists. Their compositions when performed had an overwhelming effect upon the listener because it was created out of passion, not vocation. For thousands of years, this phenomenon was an elemental cause and effect, and both the performer and the audience mutually benefited from the music.

Recently, it has been brought to my attention that the current Washington administration would like to control how music is used as therapy. Like most attempts to “manipulate” organic modalities of healing, e.g., vitamins and supplements, the rhetoric is seemingly benign, always touted as a way to “protect” the consumer. The truth is, the government wants to find a way to monetize something organic that actually works by demonizing those who don’t have industry- or government-granted credentials to administer it. This has been happening in the medical field for years, but now that music therapy has become a licensed vocation, things are getting ugly. Here is a post that a “licensed” music therapist recently posted on my Facebook timeline:

Music Therapy Education and Training: From Theory to Practice-Michael Tyrrell Music, November 25 at 12:01pm: “Please do not advertise your work as music therapy. You are not trained as a music therapist nor is your work documented under the music therapy literature.”

Here is my forthright response:

“First, I don’t advertise my music; my publishing company does that. Second, I have more actual documentation than most “certified” music therapists. A certified music therapist can receive accreditation online WITHOUT actually being a musician! In fact, I have a friend who gets paid to play recordings of other peoples’ music in a classroom setting for children. I am not only a highly trained multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer, producer, writer, and inventor but have conducted trials in several hospitals (including Vanderbilt clinic) as well as studies (some still ongoing) with soldiers returning from multiple tours of Afghanistan and Iraq who suffer from PTSD and TBI. If you had done your research, you would have read hundreds of published testimonies from real people who have received real health benefits from Wholetones. Oh yes and you would be quite interested in reading what Johns Hopkins University says about frequency music. If you take into account that when I started doing what I do, music therapy was NOT a vocation, thus, when something as beautiful and organic as music therapy became a job, many untrained, improperly educated people, many who didn’t even play or read music started to teach about something they couldn’t even create themselves! My friend, your note is another example of shooting yourself in the foot… If you are a musician (a logical prerequisite for administering MUSIC therapy, in my opinion) then it stands to reason that you would want to support someone who has been doing what you say you do, for over 30 years! There is a vast difference between talking about helping people and actually…helping them. So, I have been doing this driven by passion NOT a vocation and I am not about to go back to school to get a degree and stop what I have been doing to please you or a system. Maybe it would have been wiser to read the testimonials concerning my work before you decided to belittle it on a public media platform. You should be ashamed of yourself- Michael.

You see, although my response may be construed as “harsh,” it is nonetheless absolute truth! The thought that hundreds of thousands of gifted musicians would suddenly need to earn a degree to help people is the definition of insanity. And where does it end? Sculptors, artists, dancers, opera singers, etc., suddenly need a piece of paper to administer their art??? This, my friend, is precisely what happens when the government gets too big for its britches and tries to control every facet of our lives, even the arts!

The Cambridge dictionary defines the words “music” and “therapy” as follows. Music means “vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.” Therapy means “a treatment that helps someone feel better, grow stronger, etc., especially after an illness.” Although I have never referred to myself as a “music therapist,” given the denotation of those two words … what would you call me?
Dear friends, it is time for those of us who hold our personal freedom in high regard to stand up and not be silent concerning our inalienable rights to share our God-given gifts without the scrutiny of any agency. We have a voice and it is powerful. If you see people maligning musicians or those who use their gifts for the betterment of mankind, don’t be afraid to say something … if we don’t, before long, you may need a degree to have an opinion!

If you are receiving my letters each Tuesday, then you already know that Wholetones is a gift…and nobody can change that. I promise you that I will continue to create spontaneous healing music as long as I live. What is hard to swallow is that I was really excited when I learned that music therapy was offered as a college course. I never dreamed that it would become a faction that challenges the credibility of REAL musicians. Thank you for your support!

Be Whole,
Michael S. Terrell”


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