Music Therapy

If someone were to try to put together a timeline for all of music history since the beginning of time, they wouldn’t. It would stretch around the world who knows how many times. What I’m trying to say is that music has been a part of human culture since the actual start of time. A simple drumbeat, or a simple rock smashing against another rock, to streaming 6 different studio albums in the matter of 5 minutes. Music has come so far and the way we get it also. There’s always one thing that music does though and that is affect your mood and the way you are feeling at that moment. Healthline has a great article on their website that informs readers about the fact music, whether it be sad sounding or upbeat, can alter your mood in a positive manner. Researchers and scientists have been doing tests all over the world focusing on the memorable experiences and emotions felt while listening to sad songs or upbeat songs.

A study that came from the Journal of Consumer Research stated that people tend to listen to sad music when they are experiencing a loss or grief in their life. This is because the music could be filling up that missing spot that they lost in them or they found something or someone through music that makes them feel less alone. Whatever the case may be, it is apparent that humans are attracted to sad music to make them feel better during times of struggle. Of course, however, not everyone reacts the same way and it is also true that many people are actually more sad while listening to sad music, which still could be helping them depending on their mental situation at that time. Other researchers found the results that shows the enormous amount of joy that can come from upbeat music. In 2013, the Journal of Positive Psychology published a study that stated it could take up to two weeks for music to completely boost your happiness and mood. Similarly, a 2015 review from The Lancet says that patients who listened to music before, during, or after the surgery experienced less stress and anxiety than the patients who didn’t care for the music. It just so happens that those patients also didn’t even need as much pain medication. Parkinsons, strokes, dementia, and much more are proven to be diseases where music therapy can be effectively used as treatment. The World Journal of Psychiatry did 25 tests and now can truthfully say that music is proven to reduce depression and anxiety, as well as improve overall quality of life and personal self esteem.

While I’ve mostly been focusing on talking about listening to music, it is also proven that creating music can also have major impacts on mood and self esteem. In the United Kingdom, there is a unique orchestra where people with dementia are actually together making beautiful music. The research shows music gives people something to do to make themselves happy. Creating something like music can boost so many neurons in your brain and actually change the way you feel right when you listen to it. To me, that’s the most fascinating part about music is what it does for people mentally and emotionally. The fact that sounds put together in an artistic way can elevate your life is the most cool form of science in my opinion. 

Can it actually change your mood? As mentioned earlier, even cavemen stomping their feet and smashing rocks making sounds and simple beats can feel the positive effects of listening and/or creating music. Musicians today are so passionate about what they do and that inspires me that something they can create with their imagination and creativity can in turn elevate the quality of their own life. Although not everyone is affected by music in the same ways as others, everyone has that one song that you turn on in the shower and belt the lyrics to because it just feels right. For this reason I love music and I appreciate the fact it will continue to impact people’s lives everyday.

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