Since the beginning of time, music has been an integral part of religion in nearly every society. Early Africans and Native Americans used their own bodies as percussion instruments in tribal songs designed to call their ancestors. Benedictine monks worshipped God with haunting Gregorian chants. Since the eighth century, Shintoists have used traditional funeral songs to commune with kimo, or spirits, in worship. In the contemporary Christian church, music is still a key part of Sunday worship. Some services have replaced hymnals and robed choirs with projector screens and praise bands, but most congregations still celebrate God through song. At Compass Rose Academy, we use music to glorify God in worship. We encourage the creative process of composing and performance and the communion and joy that result from people raising their voices together.
But we can also use music and songs as therapeutic tools to help teens heal by encouraging self-expression and self-awareness. Much like art therapy, music therapy is an expressive process that not only channels a teen’s energy, but can also help vent frustrations, connect to difficult emotions and communicate grief, anxiety and other feelings.
According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy enhances one’s quality of life, involving relationships between a therapist and individual, between one individual and another, between the teen and her family and between the music and the participants. These relationships are structured and adapted through the elements of music to create a positive environment and set the occasion for successful growth.
The growth resulting from music therapy — both spiritual and character-related — can occur in several ways. Some students might choose to write songs or perform others’ music. Using their God-given talents allows teens to connect with Christ, while also boosting their sense of competence by helping them to develop their gifts and take pride in their abilities.
Some teens prefer to instead listen to the lyrics of specific songs and discuss how particular music changes the way they are feeling. Music appeals to many teens who discover that the words in popular songs often express their own feelings and experiences. Teens tend to gravitate to music describing what they are feeling and what is important to them.
Whether your teen enjoys creating music or connecting through the music of others, Compass Rose can help her strengthen her relationship with Christ and make positive therapeutic progress. Visit www.compassroseacademy.org to learn more.