Is Music Therapeutic?

Are you happy? If you are, find a song that will reflect all of those positive emotions. For me, my song choice would be Shut Up and Dance by WALK THE MOON.

Are you down and feeling sad? If you are, find a song that will sum up how you are feeling. In this case, I would have to put Take Your Time by Sam Hunt on repeat.

Do you have a crush on someone or are just feeling romantic? If you do, sing along to something that will put your heart out there. And late at night when I feel like this, I always end up singing my heart out to Emotions by Mariah Carey.

Are you stressed out and angry? If you are, blast a piece of music that will make you release everything you are thinking about! To be honest, I just blast F**K You by CeeLo Green but the version of the song by Sleeping With Sirens.

By making you do everything above, I hope you have realized that we all have different pieces of music we turn to whenever we are feeling a specific emotion or feeling something in general. Obviously, there are many forms and genres of music that are created by using tools including song lyrics, vocals, instruments, and volumes. However, as music is incredibly accessible today, we can often overlook music as something used to pass by the time or as something used for fun. In reality, music can change someone’s life as it can be a person’s preferred art form or a type of therapy.

With that in mind, music is used as a real form of therapy and music therapy is a real profession used by millions of people every year. A lot of what makes up music therapy is how “music is used in a therapeutic relationship to address physical, cognitive, and social needs of individuals” and is a very personalized process as you might be creating music, singing, dancing to music, or even just listening to music. Each of these therapy sessions are intended to help the individual communicate and process difficult situations better. According to Jenni Rook, a certified Neurologic Music Therapist, “listening to music activates our entire brains, creating the potential for us to use music to improve the way we think, behave, and feel.”

Credit: Tumblr
Credit: Tumblr

Even without a structured therapy session, music is incredibly therapeutic. We all use different types of music based on the environment or mood we are in and without realizing it, our music choices in those times are actually functioning in an therapeutic manner! And to refer back to Jenni Rook quickly, she points out that humans do have a knack for picking music that will soothe or heal themselves which means we guide ourselves to therapeutic music even when we are not trying. For example, if you are studying for a really difficult exam, you might put on instrumental music that holds a much more softer sound to have something to listen to. However, you might actually be listening to instrumental music because you instinctively know that this type of music will be less distracting and will be calming in case you get stressed out at any point of your study session. There are actually lots of subconscious forms of therapeutic music or music therapy including listening to a playlist of your favorite songs, live music performances at hospitals or elderly homes, and someone playing their favorite instrument during their free time!

As a quick note, music playlists are a great form of music therapy. In a playlist, you have the emotional and creative direction meaning you can make a playlist that will include music you are familiar with, music that speaks to you, music that matches your mood, and music that can ultimately guide you towards an intended state. All playlists are created with an emotional intention, even if it might be a subconscious one, making the playlist turn into a therapeutic experience whenever it is played. Also, here some great services to turn to when you are creating a playlist: Spotify, Apple Music, 8tracks, Tidal, and Pandora (there are more options).

For me, I have always looked to music as my form of therapy. I like listening to forms of music that not only speak to me but can also put me in a better mood. For the most part, my days start when I first put my music on – it is what motivates me and keeps me on schedule!


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