My interests lined up with Pippa’s. But what I really wanted to know was the scientific explanation: why does the violin engage the client? Understanding the brain a little better was key. Does the introduction and infusion of live music through vibrations and rhythm create new neural pathways? Is the violin a key, unlocking the code? I have seen some “unlocking” in our work with disabilities. I think the world knows music helps Alzheimer’s patients, stirring up their musical memories of the past and triggering sudden vocalizing when none happened before. Studies show pain and post-surgery discomfort are deeply diminished when exposed to music, especially live music. Babies in neo-natal care show stabilizing health aspects when exposed to music.
Quite early on in the study, we felt the violin voice was already making a difference, shown by the decrease in autistic behavior and the increase in more developed behavior and engagement.
Autistic children love music, underscoring our instincts that I could provide an “in” for Pippa, my study partner. We believe this is what the chart shows. We, therefore, continue to strive to understand the power of the violin for those in the therapeutic riding arena.