Music as a form of therapy
in medicine is not new. Its origins can be traced back to the late 1700s and early 1800s, according to the American Music Therapy Association
, where essays on the “therapeutic value of music” began to appear in various medical journals. Throughout the following century, interest in music therapy grew, although it didn’t turn into an organized medical profession until the 1940s. Today
, music therapy helps people of all ages with a variety of medical issues
, ranging from autism to Alzheimer’s, and sessions are often uniquely individual, consisting of improvising, listening to music, singing, writing, or playing instruments. Studies have shown that music therapy is effective in reducing anxiety
, as the process of listening to music
can activate a person’s entire brain, creating a multi-sensory experience
. From there, music can effectively impact
a person’s emotion, mood, and cognitive functioning.
The origins of silent disco, however, are notoriously trickier to nail down; the trend has been linked to
a 1969 Finnish science-fiction film called Ruusujen aika
(A Time of Roses
). It made headlines decades later in the late 1990s when The Flaming Lips promoted
a headphones-only concert, and in 2005, when England’s Glastonbury Festival equipped guests with headphones
and encouraged them to dance. In recent years, silent dance parties have spread
to cities throughout the U.S., allowing partygoers to lower their inhibitions
and become one with the music.
For Nicko Libowitz, the emotional rush of participating in silent disco was too good to keep to himself. The 31-year-old is the co-founder of What The Float
(WTF), a silent dance party that travels through outdoor public spaces, rather than taking place inside a club or indoor event space. During any given “float,” partygoers dance through the streets via a carefully chosen route, listening to a predetermined playlist
on glowing headphones, just as T.J. did that rainy night in Harlem.
“We just like to dance a lot and like other people to dance with us.