Music Education

Music and Mental Health

Written by Miranda 

Any casual listener can tell that music can help improve your mood. Listening to songs can help you process what you’re going through, give you new perspectives, or distract you from the difficulties you face. Music allows us to relate to one another, whether we are creating our own music or enjoying others’ performances. Most music lovers know the helpful effects of music on mood, stress, and mental health, but what does science say about this relationship? 

Researchers from New York studied stress levels of surgical patients. They compared the stress levels of patients who listened to (self-selected) music during and after their surgical operations and measured the differences. On average, their research showed lower blood pressure and reported stress levels for the patients who were listening to music. Other related studies gave similar results. 

According to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, music therapy is beneficial for multiple mental health conditions such as depression and PTSD. Music therapy is the process of using “musical interventions” to accomplish therapeutic goals and is performed by a credentialed professional. According to NAMI and the American Music Therapy Association, Inc., music therapy can help explore mental illness issues and meet the needs of many different people. This therapy involves exploring expression of thought and feeling, focusing on positive moods and emotions, and developing coping and relaxation skills; among other opportunities. 

It’s clear that not only is music beneficial to the casual listener, there is evidence-based research showing that music is helpful to improve stress levels and mood and through musical therapy can improve one’s mental health. 

I will always be so grateful for the artists who created music that helped me through difficult times; I also have increased appreciation for musical therapists and those participating in the music and musical education industries. 
Sources: I, II, III

By Miranda

I am a senior in Political Science at NC State and lover of R&B, rap, international, and electronic.