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31/03/2019 - 07:36

Mien Duc Thang and music therapy

Once one of the famous musicians of the Urban Struggle Movement, at the age of 70, the musician Mien Duc Thang, a “son” of Hue, devotes himself to composing music for treating illnesses.

Mien Duc Thang sang with orphans and disabled children in Hue

Moving people’s feelings

Recently, Mien Duc Thang returned to Hue to organize the "Spring of Love" program to introduce his music therapy to the audience. His therapeutic music varies from smooth and gentle melodies, depressing songs to exciting songs such as Hát từ đồng hoang, Ngày xuân dưới mái học đường, Lạ lùng, Hầu hạ hư không, etc.  

Most doctors use western instrumental classical music such as music by Mozart, Beethoven, etc., as a therapy, while Mien Duc Thang uses songs to suit a large number of Vietnamese people. His melodies are soft, touching the listener’s feelings and his lyrics are deeply philosophical. 

Most of the songs by Mien Duc Thang are inspired from folk songs. “Folk songs are deeply ingrained in every Vietnamese man. I use folk melodies to ease the pain and touch the emotions in the listeners through rural images and sounds, mother’s lullabies, sounds of flute, kites, etc.,” said he.

Attending the show, the poet and cuisine expert Ho Dac Thieu Anh says: "I attended all the shows introducing music therapy by Mien Duc Thang. These shows are very useful for everyone. Music therapy is new to Vietnamese people and it needs making known. Our present life is filled with haste, pressure and competition, and people need to relax. Music therapy helps people find relaxation for the soul.”

Relieving the pain

Having witnessed the pain, anxiety and sadness of patients, Mien Duc Thang cherished the desire to use music to somehow relieve their pain. It was the motivation for him to do the scientific research: “Using Vietnamese music to treat some diseases for Vietnamese people," treating some neurological diseases such as stress, depression, paranoia, personality disorder, etc.

According to Mien Duc Thang, therapeutic music has been employed to treat some diseases in many countries, but in Vietnam it is still somewhat new. After more than ten years of researching and analyzing of the research both in the east and the west, ancient and recent, combined with his own discoveries and feelings in his musical profession, Mien Duc Thang has successfully applied music in treating diseases.

“Music consists of a number of sound waves. It is the combination of waves of lyrics, waves of melodies and harmonious rhythm. Music creates emotions that can move people and their mood. What you choose to listen and at what intensity you are listening affect your health,“ said the musician.

His songs are grouped into four categories: smooth and gentle melodies which soothe tension and make people asleep; songs that elevate depressed or stressed people; sad and dull songs to govern anger and aggression; and happy and positive songs.

Mien Duc Thang advocates using Vietnamese music to treat diseases for Vietnamese people. All the songs are composed by him. For each therapy, he selects 10 songs many of which used to be sung in the struggles of students in Saigon in 1960s and made up the name Mien Duc Thang such as: Tôi- Sông là bến đò, Đất nước cần trái tim ta, Mai kia lòng độ lượng, Hát từ đồng hoang, etc.

With the desire to bring about better results for treatment, he combines music with such new elements as meditation, yoga, psychology, etc.

Hue is Mien Duc Thang’s hometown. He was once a prominent figure in the Urban Struggle Movement. Besides music, he also paints and composes poetry.

Tens of years ago, he fought against the wars with music and was sent to jail by the then government. Tens of years later, he uses music to relieve the mental pain for the sick. His research has been introduced to numerous patients, doctors and pharmacists by the Department of Health in Ho Chi Minh City.

Back to sing in his hometown, there evoked in him so many emotions and memories. “It has been such a long time before I can come back and sing in front of a large number of people in Hue, the place where I grew up from my childhood. Every time I come back, the old memories of a young age come alive again. This time, I organize the music therapy show, combined with giving gifts to children with disabilities and orphans with the hope that my music will be like a therapy to bring equanimity and calmness to listeners,” confided Mien Duc Thang.

Story and photo: TRANG HIEN

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