Music as a life learning tool

Adeje council’s music therapy project for special needs persons

The Adeje Council has presented a music therapy project, ‘Timba’, for special needs individuals. With the municipal School of Music and the Los Olivos centre for functional diversity, under councillors Carmen Rosa González Cabrera and Carmen Lucía Rodríguez respectively, the programme will b open to anyone in Adeje who is special needs, with the main aim being to bring music to the whole population. “This is a programme to use music as physical, psychological and social tool in improving the lives of individuals”, said Carmen Rosa González.

“Music as therapy is not just an idealistic notion in the search for ‘curative power”, said Carmen Lucia Rodríguez. “The therapeutic effects of music are the results of professional methods that are properly applied”.

Those interested in signing up for classes can do so through the Adeje School of Music, with classes in the mornings and afternoons on offer. It is thought the morning hours would suit adults with some form of special needs and the afternoon sessions might be better suited to people with functional diversity who are attending regular educational centres in the mornings.

Among the aims will be the “improvement of communication through music, listening, dancing or playing, transmitting feelings and ideas, improving interpersonal relationships and self-awareness, explained Carmen Lucia Rodríguez. The teachers will focus on multi-sensory stimulation, self-expression, helping to develop intellectual capacity, improve cognitive abilities and psychomotor functions such as spatial perception, motor skills and co-ordination.

The project has already completed a pilot phase in the Los Olivos centre with a high level of satisfaction reported from students and teachers. “Now we want to take it a step further and open the programme to everyone so we need the School of Music to come on board, as here we have the installation and the teaching staff who are able to become involved in the project”, said the councillor.

Carmen Rosa González added that “attention to those with special needs if part of the protocol of the School of Music. Currently we have a dozen students who have some form of disability and we are interested in opening the school’s doors to many more people in particular to what is, in some ways, a ‘vulnerable’ section of our society. The school is 100% behind the project”:








Music as therapy!


Music can help those with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s


As part of the Adeje Summer University, Professor Julián González González is running a three day course on the study of music neurophysiology, and how it affects the brain, etc. He talked students through the recognition of sound to how it then provokes certain reactions, sensations, recognised by the brain, associations with certain emotions and different cognitive processes. In the is regard it is now believed music will have therapeutic benefits for certain ailments, “there are advanced investigations which show music is producing improvements in those suffering from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s”, he stated.

The course director explained that music therapy does have a solid scientific base and all results of related testing are subject to proper scientific criteria. Today, in the USA and the UK more than anywhere else, certain hospitals now have special units dedicated to this kind of therapeutic investigation.

“Scientifically this shows that for certain conditions, ailments, music can help, but this is still a relatively new branch. We need to study more to see what kind of emotions different music provokes, and, within cognitive phenomena, which grade of mental dysfunction may be affected”.

The course isn’t just looking at music therapy, but also, on a wider scale, explaining the music process from a neurophysiological and biophysical base, music pedagogy and music in the animal world. Regarding music pedagogy, González says that music teaching in primary and secondary education is relevant “because music and musical training helps cognitive skills develop and would appear to improve certain aspects of our humanity”. And in the animal world, the investigation is looking at the impact sound and music may have and their importance in the animal kingdom, from bird song to the use of sonar by bats. “The spectrum of sound in the animal world is huge”, he remarked.

The influence of our culture would explain why human beings are more receptive to musical tones, as they and we have evolved over the centuries. Music with different tonal structures produces different effects and emotions, but says González, the study of those effects has still a long way to go.