Emma Maxwell conducts a study on music therapy


Megan Gialluca

Emma thinks about music during Period 6 Senior Quest

Megan Gialluca, Features Editor

“I want to help people,” said Emma Maxwell ’17, a student in Period 6 Senior Quest. Her method? Music therapy. “Instead of using medicine, you use music to cure [psychological] illness.”

Music therapy itself is a relatively new recognized form of treatment used mostly for psychological illnesses. It was first used in the late 1700s and the early 1800s. It began with musicians (amateur and professional) visiting veterans hospitals after World War I & II. After playing for these individuals, their healthcare professionals began to notice improvement in the veteran’s physical and mental well-being. After seeing these changes, they began to hire the musicians and music therapy’s clinical use was recognized. Since then it has been used in a wide variety of settings, including: for those in the military, for young children with speech disabilities, for those suffering from asthma, and for those involved in extremely traumatic events. The applications are endless.

Along with practicing music therapy herself, Maxwell’s goal for the year is to help others become aware of this form of treatment, along with studying it more  because of her interest in it for the future. Maxwell said she is thinking about a major in music therapy, that way she would really be able to become involved with the subject. As for her Senior Quest, Maxwell is hoping to create a documentary in order to teach people about music therapy. Along with this presentation, Maxwell is planning to go to a senior center to see if she can help those suffering from a range of illnesses. She has mainly spent the first quarter researching the subject of music therapy by watching movies and reading different materials in the Hollis Brookline library, and now she’s beginning to branch out to interview professionals and amateurs alike.

So far, Maxwell is really enjoying Senior Quest. “It’s self-directed so I don’t need to be told what to do I just…do,” she said. She seems to be enjoying the freedom of the class just like the majority of her Period 6 classmates.