Let's give it a name.
People often don't know what to call it when they feel better after listening to their favorite music, or the thrill of seeing a live concert, or feeling of belonging when singing with others. I once had a musician ask me "Aren't we all really music therapists to some extent?"
Not quite. There is a difference.
I like to call this "functional music."
Functional music is beneficial and useful. It's functional. It can make you feel better, it can create a sense of belonging, it can relieve stress, it can relax you at the end of a long day or motivate you before playing sports.
Functional music is not the same as music therapy.
I'd say the relationship between functional music and music therapy is similar to the relationship between functional fitness and physical therapy. When you go for a run in the morning because it's good for you, you don't refer to it as physical therapy. Going to zumba or working with a personal trainer at the gym is different from physical therapy. Similarly, functional music is not music therapy.
Music therapy, like physical therapy, takes place in a clinical setting. A music therapist who has completed the required education, clinical training and credentialing process uses evidence-based music interventions to reach individualized goals.
Yes, I believe that functional music is important and should be utilized and recognized. Studies have been completed that show increased health benefits among seniors who attend concerts (Check out the B Sharp Program in Fort Collins, CO).
For the music lovers, the music makers, the music sharers, let's give it a name.
Introducing: functional music.