EUTERPE Founder and Artistic Director Catherine Wilson was invited to present her PhD research at the Medical Humanities Conference at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, May 7-8, 2016.

Music and Healing: Progress Towards Elysium

How Music is Healing Psychically, Physically and Spiritually

Entitled Music and Healing: Progress Towards Elysium, my dissertation explores the role that music plays as a healing agent from the perspective of the physical, psychological and spiritual. I believe that music is a tremendously positive element in the development of happier, healthier individuals and well-adjusted societies. The ‘quality’ music I focus on in my work is Western tonal music in the interrelated genres of classical, jazz and related musical styles.

This talk referenced my research about music in ancient civilizations, particularly by Greek philosophers and the rediscovery of this learning in the 19th and 20th centuries, pointing to the “roots” of various concepts and theories associated with “music and healing”; theories of evolution concerning the central place of music in education and personal health and emotional well-being for all; scientific findings concerning music as being central to the development of the brain; the mystical, magical and other worldly aspects of music’s inexplicable communicative and transformative powers.

The perspective in my dissertation is that of a concert pianist with over 30 years performing concerts internationally and recording. The music that has so nurtured me and my audiences is the music that I write about. The registered not-for-profit charity, Euterpe: Music is The Key, which I founded so that children and others who might not be exposed to live, high-calibre music and music-making opportunities, would be given these opportunities. Music was The Key to me healing from a strife-ridden childhood and adolescence. Hence my belief that all children have the right to be nurtured by quality music and to thereby receive the life-enhancing benefits that this music is known to provide.

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