Music is therapy with Dr. Margaret Lobo (FRSA)

One of the greatest thinkers in history, Greek philosopher Aristotle believed that music has a cathartic effect on listeners and can extend relief from negative emotions. Plato, too, referred to music as “the medicine of the soul“. What better proof of music therapy than a lullaby that puts a child to sleep?

Dr. Margaret Lobo (FRSA), Founder and Director – The Ashwaas Music Therapy and Wellness Advisory Services LLP, was the guest on The Navhind Times, Talk from the Heart show that aired on November 27 on the Goa 365 channel.

Losing her singing voice through illness and learning to find it again, inspired Lobo to work with others to find theirs. “Music is innate, in every human being and we all love music. In fact we are born with music! The first sound a baby makes is ‘Aah’, this just shows how music and sound are universal,” stated Lobo as she highlighted the importance of sound and music. She then explained what music therapy is and its role in helping people in different areas of life. “When we are helping people through music therapy, we do not differentiate between cultures, ages, types, colours, religions, gender, etcetera” she added.

Music therapy has long existed in India and some non-medical Sanskrit texts have indirect references to this practice in ancient India. Acknowledging this fact, Lobo explained how she was invited to bring formal music therapy to India and came here and started her work. “My husband (who was Goan) and I wanted to offer a scholastic training in clinical music therapy using the elements that are so prominent in this country,” she said. Collaborating with Ayurveda physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, Indian classical musicians, and the like.

Lobo has been working tirelessly in the field for over 30 years to help some of the most vulnerable people in society, not just in the UK but India as well. “India has thousands of years of history and science that does not exists anywhere else in the world. And with Ayurveda physicians, Neelesh Korde and Gaurav Dessai we have been able to incorporate the best into our field of music therapy. We are not here to tell India this is what you need, but say that we want to unite the importance of yoga and Ayurveda into the science of music,” she stated.

Music therapy has numerous benefits, some of which include, treating psychological disorders like hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss to name a few. It also works well on physical illnesses like pain management and arthritis and chronic disorders like diabetes. “Music therapy is for everyone, and the therapists in this field are trained accordingly, not just in the field of music but also psychology, psychiatry and mental health,” she explained.

To be a music therapist, one does not have to be a brilliant musician, said Lobo, but have a love and knowledge of music and general love for what you do. “Forty years ago, I made a sankalpa that if I ever worked with a client and did not see the same self, I would quit; because you cannot have duality, you have to work with equality,” she shared.

She then highlighted the crucial role of youth as ambassadors of music therapy, especially in Goa where music is very much a part of the Goan fibre. “If we can now bring this work to schools, colleges and universities and work with youngsters in groups and train them, they can do a lot of great work which will benefit not just them but many others,” opined Lobo.