Violinist works on music therapy in China

Updated: 2013-12-22 09:36

By Chen Nan (China Daily)

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Violinist works on music therapy in China

Anna Avdeeva, a certified music therapist, believes music can help people of any age with mental-health needs or developmental and learning disabilities. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

A young violinist believes music cured her of a debilitating illness. Now she's inspiring others through music. Chen Nan reports.

Anna Avdeeva grew up in an environment well cared for by her successful parents, who expected that she would have a career in business. She studied international economics at the Financial University under the Government of the Russia Federation in Moscow but didn't worry much about her future.

"I grew up with my grandparents because my parents were busy working," recalls the 23-year-old. "My parents decided on my major at university and they wanted me to 'do business' after graduation. My life then was aimless."

In 2009, however, when she was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer, she decided to reconsider her goals. She gave up medical treatment and instead spent her time listening to and creating music.

"Doctors couldn't guarantee I would be able to walk properly, but now I'm dancing tap. So, after music cured me, I felt indebted to it and wanted to help and inspire others through music," says Avdeeva, who has studied violin since she was small.

Inspired by what she'd experienced as music's healing power, Avdeeva discovered that music therapy was a little-known but quite established discipline. The idea of music as a healing influence that could stimulate health and behavior is as least as old as the writings of Aristotle and Plato. Modern music therapists, the young Russian learned, use their art to assess emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities and cognitive skills through musical responses. They design music sessions for individuals and groups by combining improvisation, listening sessions and performances.

So she opened a company in Moscow to provide treatment for children suffering from autism and cerebral palsy.

The young violinist then made a decision to step out of her parents' shadow and pursue a life of her own.

She applied for a half-year program at Dalian University of Foreign Languages in the winter of 2011. She didn't tell her parents until she received the scholarship offer.

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