Introduction to Mississippi Music Arts Therapy (MMAT)
As a result of Mississippi being the birthplace of America’s music, the Mississippi Songwriters’ Alliance is leading this statewide Mississippi Music Arts Therapy (MMAT) program. The MMAT will encompass in-school and after school programs, seminars, and consults across the state of Mississippi.
One out of every five students reports being bullied, reports the National Center for Educational Statistics
with a percentage resulting in suicide. Addressing the effects of bullying is key because of the long-term consequences – including a higher risk of anxiety and depression. Music therapy is an approach that has proven successful as an intervention strategy. Songwriting is “an unchartered open space” where everyone has a chance to express themselves and meet others on an equal and respectful footing. As a result, music therapy is one of the therapies that can help prevent and intervene when it comes to bullying. It can be used to create a non-judgmental culture; one where differences are respected and appreciated.
This course is designed to improve student outcomes by providing music therapy. Scientists recommend an emphasis on music-making and song writing to reduce bullying and help prevent suicides. This program focuses on the improvisation of songwriting, which allows new behaviors to be expressed, experienced, and rehearsed in a creative manner.
Music-based intervention can be defined as active intervention such as writing or creating music, playing an instrument, singing, or musical improvisation. Receptive intervention is defined as music listening.
In this program, the student will learn the nuances of writing and performing their own music through collaboration. Students learn the framework fundamentals and explore the connections among emotion, imagination, and song. With the base created from this class, the student should be able to continue creating music and find solace in the therapy.
During each class session, the students will be immersed inan inspiring environment alongside their peers’ learning basics about music and songwriting. Music theory, lyric writing, song form and melodic construction will be discussed to enable student creativity. Sessions vary from multiple30-minute intervals to 2-hour workshop sessions.
The program is designed with a state-wide implementation, with Professional Songwriters and qualified guests to speak and teach. The state will be divided into five regions (Figure 1.) with a dedicated music professional(s) responsible for each region, chosen and led by the Mississippi Songwriters Alliance- Education Coordinator
The MMAT program’s success is measured through an independent survey as a feedback mechanism. The key performance indicators will include a cluster of data points collected from administrators, teachers, and students via a multitude of questions in regards to class preparation, class attentiveness, class participation, music theory, lyric, and melodic construction.