In 2010, researchers at the Virginia Medical Center partnered with the foundation Guitars 4 Vets to test the effect of music education on veterans suffering with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). After 10 weeks of guitar lessons, the subjects experienced a 21% reduction in PTSD symptoms, a 28% reduction in depression symptoms, and a 37% improvement in “health-related quality of life.” Overall, the study highlights the therapeutic effects of music and the positive impacts it has on suffering veterans.
In the near future, the Bruce Arnold Foundation and KLOS Guitars will combine efforts in their own experiment. KLOS, an up-and-coming guitar design and manufacturing company, has developed the first guitar that controls for environmental factors. Its lightweight, carbon-fiber design makes it durable, while its smaller size makes learning simpler. KLOS will be providing 30 guitars for the project, which will take place over 10 weeks. Each participant will receive a guitar and four educational resources from Muse-eek.com, including three downloadable files and one hard-copy book. Additionally, participants will have access to the BAF’s free online resource, musiceducation.org, which would provide out-of-class instruction. In class, Bruce Arnold, Jane Getter, and Jerry DeVore will be lending their educational talents once per week.
Also on staff is Clinical Psychologist Sean Evers, who has worked with veterans for 30 years. He serves as director at both Evers Psychological Associates, P.C., and the Center for Posttraumatic Studies, LLC, in New Jersey. Dr. Evers will use three tests prior to and following the program: the Beck Depression Scale, the Beck Anxiety Questionnaire, and the Posttraumatic Stress Checklist. They will be used to measure participant progress.
The goal of the program is to see first-hand whether music education does have a positive impact on veterans with PTSD. Ultimately, Bruce Arnold, an advocate of veterans’ rights, hopes to hire graduates of the program to teach the next wave of participants.
Written by Alexis Cunningham