Why Is Music Important? (20+ Reasons)

There’s no question that music is an essential part of our lives. It can make us happy, sad, powerful, and even vulnerable.

But why is music so important? What role does it play in our lives, and what impact does it have on our emotions?

According to several experts in the field, here are reasons why:

Anita Connell

Anita Connell

Registered Music Therapist | Founder, Tuned In Music Therapy

Music is all-consuming and an escapism from everyday life

If you’d asked me this question 20 years ago, I’d say it was because of how music made me feel—browsing through vinyl, buying CDs, laboring over sleeve notes, and analyzing and learning the lyrics of my favorite artists all while listening, constantly listening to music.

It fed my soul.

Pretty self-centered, really, but that was why it was important. It was all-consuming and an escapism from everyday life. It made me feel good.

Fast forward to today to ask me the same question, why is music important? And I can tell you so much more about the health and cognitive benefits. It’s pure gold and a non-pharmacological approach to enhancing our wellbeing.

I’m a music therapist running my own private practice for disabled children and adults. We see people diagnosed with autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, developmental disabilities, and more.

Outside of that, I’m a researcher exploring how music learning is good for the cognitive and socio-emotional health of older adults.

In all of our music therapy work, my team and I play with the constructs of music — pitch, timbre, rhythm, dynamics — and we explore musical relatedness, musical communication, and musical attention with the aim of expanding people’s creative responses and their interactions with another through shared music making.

There are no limits here.

Music is important because it’s the motivator

We might be playing your favorite song, analyzing your favorite lyrics, or creating music you feel best represents you and creating your own sleeve notes to the album of your life if you like.

No musical experience is required by participants in this creative therapy, other than the music therapist being a very capable musician who can work through the constructs of music to support creative outputs and support positive change.

Music therapy is very much a neuro-affirming practice, focused on the individual and their strengths, with participants able to share musical preferences and engage in live music making with a view to expanding their connection and relatedness to others.

We’re practitioners who very much want to affirm the talents of the people we work with, disabled children and adults. And music helps us to do that.

It’s why music is important. It’s about:

  • accessibility,
  • creativity,
  • inclusion,
  • communication,
  • cognition and
  • relatedness

And through our music therapy practice, we very much want people to:

  • Keep exploring music.
  • Keep supporting the record stores.
  • Keep browsing through online playlists.
  • Keep analyzing and learning the lyrics.
  • Keep attending to the sleeve notes.

It’s pure joy to do this… I know; I did it heaps. And it fosters a lifelong love of music that can chronicle events in your life. It’s what makes music so very important. It’s the best.

Dr. Bethany Cook, PsyD, MT-BC

Bethany Cook

Clinical Psychologist, Health Service Psychologist, and Board Certified Music Therapist | Author, “For What It’s Worth

Small tribes before used melodic-type sounds for communication

By examining the evolution of the modern-day human, we can trace “the importance of music” all the way back to when our ancestors stopped walking on four legs and started walking on two.

One of the ways the small tribes communicated was through melodic type sounds.

Music and song allowed mothers to put their babies on the ground next to them while they picked fruit or did what they needed, continually singing to the infant to maintain the ‘connection’ between them, so the infant didn’t cry when it wasn’t physically holding onto/feeling its mother.

Music helped our ancestors know who was a friend or a foe

When they would hear rustling nearby, they would make a certain sound/call and wait to hear the response. They could immediately recognize a ‘different’ tone or pitch, which made them alert the village that a ‘stranger’ was near.

Today it’s fairly easy to identify what part of the country people was raised in depending on their accent and how they pronounce their words.

It is important for the mating process between our ancestors

Finally, music was very important in the mating process between our ancestors.

Once females were of similar size to the males, the males could no longer force the females to have sex because they could physically resist and fight back.

This resulted in the males needing to ‘up their game’ to ‘woo’ the females in other ways. They did this through singing and dancing. Yup…our ancestors, especially the ones that weren’t especially strong, handsome, or large in stature, had to become ‘rock stars’ in order to breed.

Things haven’t really changed that much.

How many rock stars do you know that are built like football players and have incredible looks?

When you reflect on the popular male music stars of today, how would you describe their appearance? Yet, they seemingly don’t have an issue finding partners.

I offer this historical background because it illustrates just how important music is to humankind and how long we’ve been using it to communicate and build relationships.

Music is woven into the very fiber of our DNA. Our sentences are spoken in melodic ups and downs. We know if someone is asking a question simply by the fact that the tone at the end of their sentence goes higher.

Our heart beats in a rhythm, we walk with our own unique cadence/beat, and we use music to connect to our feelings as well as to those around us.

Music’s existence is vital to the survival of humankind.

Music today influences and reflects a person’s:

  • unique aesthetics,
  • identity,
  • socialization,
  • personality,
  • motivation,
  • gender roles,
  • communications styles
  • positive emotional development

It allows for strangers to instantly and deeply connect over a favorite song or artist. Listening to someone sing about a trauma that you relate to can be incredibly validating and healing.

Learning how to play a musical instrument increases the brain’s executive functions.

This means if you naturally want to improve your ability for planning, emotional regulation, judgment, impulse control, and delayed gratification, you’ll need to pick up an instrument and start lessons.

Music-making increases the “bridge” between the left and right hemispheres in the brain (corpus callosum).

Within 1-5 years of starting music lessons, this bridge gets larger, resulting in multiple “high-speed connections” between the R and L sides, drastically improving your ability to use your “whole brain” when it comes to thinking of creative and innovative ways to solve complex problems.

No other art form, hobby, or activity can produce the same level of lasting neurological benefits as music.

Chrissy Diaz

Chrissy Diaz

College Student, Anselmo Academy of Music & the Arts

Humans have been making music for themselves and their community for as long as 35,000 years. Although our taste in music has become vastly diversified throughout the years, the core values of music stay timeless.

Here are four reasons why music should be essential to our daily lives.

Music improves mental health and well-being

Music therapy is an established healthcare profession that permits musicians to use art as a medium for the therapeutic communication.

Music therapists are employed in a variety of locations but are most typically found in:

  • Medical Hospitals
  • Psychiatric Hospitals
  • Rehabilitative Facilities
  • Correctional Facilities
  • Nursing Homes

The great thing about music therapy is that it is for everyone — not one specific demographic.

I have used music therapy to help alleviate symptoms of my depression and anxiety. Instrumental music nonverbally communicated the feelings that I dealt with.

Whereas my younger sister used music therapy while she was in the NICU (newborn intensive care unit) to stabilize negative physiologic changes during her exposure to different stressors in the hospital environment.

It allows you to express yourself confidently

Music has an interesting way of affecting our emotions. When listening to sad music, we tend to relate the somber tone to our own experiences.

Whereas music with an upbeat sound makes us temporarily forget the negative things in our lives and dance the night away. This logic is the same in regard to confidence.

Music with motivational lyrics and a bass-heavy set of instruments will definitely boost your ego an appropriate amount.

On the other hand, learning how to play an instrument can also give you that boost of confidence while also creatively expressing yourself.

Of course, playing the piano or guitar may seem dreadful at first (if you don’t have experience doing so already). But, the more you practice and learn how to express your deepest feelings on the tips of your fingers, then the more enhanced feelings of confidence you will receive.

This is especially true when other people listen to your music and feel the same way you do.

Music is a universal language that connects people

Similar to how you receive confidence through making your own music, you can also enhance your self-esteem when you show other people your music.

A group of people who enjoy and feel your music the same way you do permits the feeling of group support. This is how music also connects individuals.

Even for people who do not speak the same language, music has always been a unifying force that transcends borders and brings people together for positive social change.

Music promotes the development and maintenance of cultural and national identities, as well.

Think about the last time you went to a concert — reflect on how it felt when you and thousands of people were singing along to a song by your favorite artist.

It’s a great feeling, isn’t it? That’s because music also serves to form a group identity.

A life without music would be led by negativity and disconnection

A life without music would be a life led by negativity and disconnection. Thankfully, we have a variety of music and different genres for everyone to enjoy together.

The most beautiful thing about music, though, is how the rhythm of the spoken word integrates with instruments that synchronize in our brain.

Once that happens, the rhythm then translates to our body and coordinates the movements of our arms, hips, and feet. Next thing you know, you are dancing with other people who enjoy music just as much as you do.

Friso Coumou

Friso Coumou

Musician | Founder, Guitar Needs

Music has evolutionary roots

Music is both wholly abstract and intensely emotional. Some people believe that the reason music exists is to make us happy. But most music theorists think that music has evolutionary roots.

Music may have helped our earliest ancestors develop speech. Music could have served as a means of developing the motor abilities necessary for vocal communication, as music and speech have many similarities.

Maybe music has evolved before speech, and it may also have been a form of early courtship. Darwin stated over 150 years ago that musical ability, like the tail of a peacock, is an indication of sexual fitness.

You need to be intellectually and physically fit to sing and dance successfully.

Additionally, success and musical talent indicate stability to prospective partners. You probably have plenty of food to eat and a place to stay if you have the time to sing and dance.

A nice thing about music is that it can transport you back in time. All the feelings and impressions you had when listening to a song for the first time suddenly come flooding back when you listen to the song later.

Songs, then, might be thought of as keys that open up all the memories we associate with them.

It appears that our memory extracts an abstract generalization from music for use in the future.

According to research, we favor the music that was played for us when we were still inside of our mother. In one study, a certain song was designated for pregnant women to listen to regularly.

The researchers played the babies the assigned music and a different tune a year after their birth to determine if they displayed any preference.

Indeed, they desired to continue hearing the tune they had heard while still in the womb. This indicates how important early exposure to music is in influencing our later musical tastes.

A piece of music needs to be just the right amount of simplicity and complexity for us to enjoy it. This has something to do with consistency.

It will feel foreign if it is too complex because we won’t be able to foresee it, and it will be trivial if it is too simple because it will be easy to predict.

Our musical preferences are also influenced by familiarity since we choose sounds that we identify with prior to satisfying musical experiences. We like the security and comfort that accustomed sensory experiences provide.

Interestingly, safety plays a part for many of us when choosing music since, in a sense, when we listen to music, we give up control and expose ourselves to it.

Linnette A. Harrigan

Linnette Harrigan

Music Supervisor, Producer, and Entrepreneur

Music helps intensify the moment

As a music supervisor working in film, I am very often asked to find music that will help tell the story. Music is very important in film because not only does it help to tell the story, but it helps the audience understand the storyline.

In the scene from the iconic “Rocky” film when Rocky is preparing for the fight, what would it be in that moment without the “Gonna Fly Now” theme music?

The music draws the audience in. It helps us to feel the excitement, fear, anxiety, and many more emotions that Rocky may be experiencing at that moment. The music brings us along for the ride.

“The Bodyguard,“ a film scene where Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner share a passionate kiss… what would the scene be without the iconic song “I Will Always Love You?”

In the “Titanic” movie scene where Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio are forced to say goodbye, it’s the song ”Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion that really helps you feel the sadness and starts the tears flowing at that moment.

The music is extremely important in all of these films because it helps to amplify the emotional intensity of very specific moments.

We can feel the music! The music brings us into the scene, and it helps to create an experience for the audience even more than words.

Music takes us back in time

Music is an important indicator of time. This is true for film and in life.
With music comes memories. A song can help us to remember, taking us back in time, almost like a time capsule to a place that we had long forgotten.

As a music supervisor, I work with all genres of music for all types of media.

Whether it’s Rock N Roll from the ’50s, Motown or Psychedelic songs of the ’60s, Disco music of the 1970s, or Punk Rock from the 80s, one thing is for sure, it’s the music serving as one of the major elements setting apart time, distinguishing one era from another.

As the late music mogul Dick Clark once said, “Music is the soundtrack of our lives”— it’s like a roadmap looking backward on the major milestone that got you to where you are today.

By looking backward, music milestones can serve to help you see the path you are on going forward.

Music serves as an important unifier

Music exists in every society, both with and without words.

While the spoken language of societies worldwide will be different, the language of music (notes, chords, intervals) will always be the same. With music, the person in the Western world will hear the same melodies and sounds as the person in the East.

There is no difference; there is no barrier.

In this sense, music can serve as an important unifier. Music is a universal language that has the power to bring us together.

I strongly believe in the power of music, and that music makes the world a better place. In these challenging times, music is not only important but absolutely essential.

Vincent James

Vincent James

Founder, Keep Music Alive

Learning to play music builds confidence

Children who learn to play music during their developmental years have been proven to do better at traditional subjects like Math, Science, and Reading comprehension.

Children who play music as part of the school and out-of-school music programs also learn valuable soft skills like patience, discipline, and perseverance.

Related: How to Develop Self Discipline?

Learning to play music builds confidence, and that confidence is then transferred over to other areas of their life, both in and out of school. When children play music, they are able to express themselves in a way they may not be able to otherwise.

At Keep Music Alive, we like to say we’re not trying to turn every child into a professional musician — what we’re trying to do is give every child the best chance of success no matter what career path they choose later in life.

Learning to play music as an adult is also extremely valuable and never too late to experience. My one guitar student didn’t start learning to play guitar until he was 80 years young.

Playing music at any age is extremely therapeutic. When we are playing music, we’re not thinking about the past or the future — we are focusing on the here and now — releasing our focus from the past and future is a proven way to reduce stress and depression amongst adults.

Just the act of listening to music is also extremely therapeutic.

Whether listening to our favorite songs and artists or experiencing new music we’ve not yet heard, this activity provides a safe outlet for us to escape the trials and tribulations of everyday life and feel the energy of the music touching us deep inside.

My wife, Joann, was not a musician growing up, but the gift of listening to music was extremely valuable in her life, being raised by a single mother who spoke little English and had schizophrenia.

Without the ability to escape into the world of music she grew up listening to, she truly believes she would have headed down the wrong path in life.

Lee Fang

Lee Fang

Singer, Songwriter, Producer, and Guitarist, Stereomono Sunday

It allows us to feel human

The average person wakes up every day and speaks and behaves in a way that is pure artifice to hide who they actually are in order to conform to societal norms.

Be it a lyric or a melody, a chord change or beat – what music does is that it taps into our emotions and reminds us who we actually are because our emotions are a reflection of our true selves:

  • our triumphs and failures,
  • hopes and disappointments,
  • moments of happiness and sadness,
  • moments of love and anger

What distinguishes us, humans, from other creatures on Earth is that we have emotions such as these. And the best music allows us to tap into what makes us human.

It’s a reflection of reality

Music moves us because, in many ways, it’s an artistic reflection of life itself.

Depending on the music, it can have moments of predictability, it can be delightfully unpredictable, or it can be downright chaotic.

The worst music is either very unpredictable (e.g., chaotic in that it’s dissonant and without structure) or very predictable (e.g., it uses chord changes, beats, or melodies that have been done to death — like most music since 2010).

Similarly, the worst lives are either fraught with chaotic unpredictability or mundane predictability.

For example, there are people who stumble from one personal crisis to another, either self-inflicted through poor decision-making or due to circumstances beyond their control.

Others live lives of material comfort — they did all the “right things” such as going to school, getting a job, getting married, having a child, and buying a home, but feel spiritually hollow because they didn’t have the guts to pursue their true calling and see it through to the end.

The best music is somewhere in-between predictability and unpredictability; it has a comfortable familiarity yet moments of delightful unpredictability, which sets it apart from mediocre music.

And that’s because the composer is unconventional and can think originally.

Similarly, the best lives have a certain level of material comfort and moments of delightful unpredictability because the people living them are unconventional and can think originally.

Alisha Ballard

Alisha Ballard

Music Philanthropist | Co-Founder, EqualizeHer and Inherit The Music

Music has the power to unify, heal, and inspire people

The importance and power of music to enrich our lives are indisputable.

I see the power of music in three ways:

  1. The power to unify
  2. The power to heal
  3. The power to inspire

The pure pleasure that music creates is unlike most other art forms in how it touches the creator, performer, and receiver.

What’s truly amazing, though, is how regardless of the genre, music has the power to unify due to its unique ability to communicate universal truths and feelings that connect with and between individuals of all walks and cultures regardless of language.

Music — as a form of creative expression and enjoyment — also has the power:

  • to heal,
  • helping us cope,
  • express our emotions,
  • lower our stress, and
  • contribute overall to our well-being

And for children and youth especially — a particular area of interest to me — music can enhance and inspire learning, creativity, and collaboration by its very existence.

For example, we know that children who study an instrument are more likely to excel in all of their studies, demonstrate greater critical thinking skills, and work better in teams.

They are also more likely to stay in school and pursue education through high school and beyond. The challenge is that too many young people, especially young girls, have little to no access to music education and, ultimately, career opportunities in music.

Even the chance to enjoy a concert or live music performance is inspiring; however, it has become a rarity for young people for a variety of reasons.

By working with a network of top-notch organizations and like-minded industry-leading partners, we are working diligently to bring greater opportunity to young people, women, and the next generation of artists and professionals.

We need the power of music more than ever to continue to touch, inspire, heal, and unify one another.

Teemu Suomala

Teemu Suomala

Entrepreneur, Life Time Learner, and Guitar-Geek | Founder, Guitarist Next Door

Why is music so important?

I’ll tackle the things where I have been able to leverage music to provide the wanted results in my own life. All these benefits are backed by science (I added links to studies and sources).

Music can boost motivation

As everyone, sometimes, and often most of the time, I don’t feel like doing anything. I don’t feel like writing the next article, hitting the gym, or sending another email.

But the fact is, if you want to see real progress, you have to execute, no matter if you want or not. And here, music is one of the “Boosters” we can leverage.

Intense and emotional parts and anticipation of those parts in music can cause our brain to release Dopamine. Here Dopamine can cause our brain to decide that this activity we are about to pursue and the end goal it produces is worth our effort.

So next time you feel like just watching TV and eating Nachos (which sounds pretty good), turn in the intense and emotionally charged music and start actually doing something that matters.

(Note: Music can also work as a motivating reward you can enjoy after or even during the hard and meaningful work, workout, for example).

Here we step into Happiness-zone.

Did you know that several successful companies like Patagonia and Google allow their employers do some pretty fun stuff during their workdays?

Patagonia lets employees hit the waves and go surfing during workdays. Then the employees come back to work in a good mood, full of energy, and yes, as creative as possible.

You know what? For some people, surfing does the trick. For some people, it’s light exercise. And for some folks, the “be-happy” trigger is music.

Being in a good and happy mood increases our thinking capabilities, and solving problems becomes easier for us.

And several studies suggest that music is one good way to boost both your mood and creativity. Studies recommend that specifically listening to happy music is one of the best ways to boost creativity.

For me, mood-altering music has been one of the best ways to turn my mood from angry to happy when facing problems. And all this helps me to come up with creative ways to solve those lovely problems.

Music can help our mind to relax

When faced with worry, fear, and problems, relaxing can be super hard. And unfortunately, some people chase the calmness of mind with alcohol or even drugs…but trying out music as a relaxant is a way better option.

Studies have shown that listening to 60 beats per minute music (light tempo, meditation-type of music) can help our brains to produce alpha-brainwaves which are usually present when we are relaxed.

When completely stressed out, I like to put my headphones on, turn on some really relaxing music, lie down, and breathe calmly for 10-20 minutes. In my opinion, this is one of the best ways to relax and relieve stress.

Listening to our favorite music is also confirmed to decrease Cortisol (stress hormone) levels.

These are the main reasons why I just love using music in my daily life. Listening (and singing) to my favorite songs is a ton of fun, but as highlighted above, it’s not only a ton of fun.

Music has some serious health benefits, and it can be a real secret weapon in our daily lives. It surely has been that for me.

Emma Ghaemmaghamy

Emma Ghaemmaghamy

Musician, Author, and Youth Empowerment Coach

Music can save a life

Simply put, music—especially with songwriting — saved my life, cognitive health, and emotional and mental health.

There have been countless studies over the years, from the University of Central Florida to Harvard to the National Library of Medicine, regarding the positive effects of music on the brain, but my experience is rather unique.

I was born with a relatively rare neurological condition called hydrocephalus, which literally translates to water on the brain.

As a result, I had my first brain surgery at the tender age of 4 months old. By the time I was 12, I’d had ten brain surgeries and 24 surgeries in total, which unfortunately led to some severe brain damage, social isolation, and depression.

Thankfully, I’ve always had music to turn to.

Whether it’s singing, playing piano, or writing songs, music simultaneously stimulates both sides of the brain.

In which, if we’re going to get scientific about it, meant that the corpus callosum part of my brain became fired up, which led to me being able to redevelop parts of my brain that were lacking in function… perfect for helping me to recover from brain damage.

Of course, on a more emotional level: the isolation brought on by spending weeks in hospital meant that I lost connection with many of my school peers.

Thankfully, listening to and writing music actually increases our brain’s ability to produce dopamine and oxytocin [the happy hormones] and decreases the production of cortisol [the stress hormone].

So even as I was working through some traumatic events… I was able to do so whilst also feeling empowered at the same time. Music gave me the confidence to show up authentically for myself, and — better yet — because everyone loves music, I found my peers started to feel reconnected with me too.

The increased cognitive function and emotional health I found because of writing my own music assisted with my depression as a young person. But, more importantly, I found that songwriting helped me work through additional mental health challenges I had as a teenager.

The increase in dopamine and oxytocin helped, sure, but music also stimulates the amygdala and nucleus accumbens, parts of the brain that helps us to rewrite our emotional responses to traumatic events cognitively.

In other words: music is alchemy.

By using music and songwriting, I was suddenly able to shift focus on to the silver linings of every negative experience.

I was able to use music to communicate with my peers, and even my parents, in a way that felt non-confrontational. I was able to recover from significant brain trauma.

Why is music important? Because it saved me.

Mark Weiser

Mark Weiser

Owner, Shake Rattle & Roll Pianos

It opens neural pathways for higher reasoning and brain function

Music is an international language that permeates borders, sects, and ideologies and can universally reach across any divide.

The emotional component of music is the reason why silent films still contain an underwritten score because music contains the power to convey emotion when language is not being used.

Listening to music has been shown to open neural pathways to allow for higher reasoning and brain function.

Studies have shown that patients with various advanced conditions of deterioration responded when familiar pieces of music were played.

Cognitive function and abilities previously thought to be lost reappeared, and it was almost as if the hands of time were turned back, simply from hearing music that the patient recognized.

It nourishes the soul, enriches life, and provides comfort in ways that worded language cannot. There is a baser impulse, a core set of emotions that are keyed into the responses to a piece of music.

Its power is that each and every listener can take away their own personal experience that detracts nothing from the experience of others.

In fact, in the 1800s, a category of instrumental called “Program Music” rose into importance, where an instrumental piece of music was set to describe visual imagery, much like a movie score for a non-existent film.

Its purpose was to convey an idea or image in the mind of the composer without even informing the audience what the image was. One such prominent example was the “Afternoon of a Faun” by Claude Debussy.

These impressionistic composers knew that music could tell a story, draw a picture and create emotional resonance even without the addition of any text.

It uplifts our celebrations and soothes our losses, challenges our senses, and arouses our passions. To quote Shakespeare: “If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On!”

Michelle Scarpelli

Michelle Scarpelli

Keyboardist and Vocalist, Ludlow Creek

Music can completely change a person’s mood

Listening to a happy, upbeat tune can completely lift my spirits. After a tiring day, listening to dance music is a great way to get energized for a night out.

On the other hand, listening to an intricate instrumental piece, losing myself in the movements of the individual instruments, is a great way to relax.

Music is a connecting thread between people

People form strong bonds with others who enjoy the same music.

At many live music events I’ve attended, complete strangers will dance together, share a smile, have a conversation about the performance, or maybe even share a high-five.

Many strong, beautiful friendships have been initiated based on liking the same music or musical artist. Sometimes something as simple as wearing a musician t-shirt will spark a wonderful friendship.

When listening to international music, I feel connected with friends and family members who live in far-away places.

Music is an important part of our memory

It has a magical way of mentally and emotionally transporting me back to an exact place and time, with cherished friends and/or family. Memories of grandparents, parents, old friends, high school, and old co-workers are all kept alive through these music-inspired memories.

It also helps put a date stamp on memories based on the music that was playing at the time of the memory.

Dr. Renetta Weaver, LCSW

Renetta Weaver

Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Neuroscience Coach

Music is so important because it is the soundtrack of our lives

As far back as I can remember, my father and I always bonded over music. We used to go to the record store and get the latest 12-inch pieces of vinyl. So it was important for me to connect with him in that same way as he was dying.

I remember standing at my father’s bedside as he was transitioning from this earthly realm. The nurse made sure to remind me that although he was unconscious, he could still hear everything.

So we made sure to put intention into everything he would hear during his final moments with us. One of the ways we did that was by playing music.

Music is so important because it is the soundtrack of our lives. You can hear a song and immediately be transported back in time and connected to certain thoughts and feelings.

Every time I hear certain songs, they take me right back to the memories of my father and help me to feel connected to him again.

As a neuroscience coach, I remind my clients that music has the power to transform our brains and nervous system. It does this by releasing dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, altering our mood, blood pressure, anxiety, pain, and sleep.

So it’s important to play music that will support the mood you want to feel.

As a psychotherapist and yoga therapist, I use music as a tool to help clients explore, identify and process their thoughts and feelings. My clients often report being inspired and more expressive after a music therapy session.

Zach McMahon

Zach McMahon

CEO and Founder, LUCID

Sound-based treatments can be effective in reducing anxiety

Music is an age-old, familiar driver of some of the richest and most deeply human experiences of life: community and emotion.

Because of these roots in nostalgia and emotion, music can be wielded as a tool to support positive mental and physical wellbeing — be it with anxiety, stress, or even dementia.

Like with meditating, listening to music provides stillness, a trial found that music of a positive tone promoted physiological recovery from stress among tested subjects.

Sound-based treatments can be effective in reducing anxiety and increasing feelings of calm. By diverting a listener away from their usual thought patterns and promoting a relaxed state, music can have the same effect as meditation.

Dementia patients, who often experience agitation, anxiety, and sleep disturbances, experience immediate positive effects on mood and behavior after listening to music.

As a drug-free, non-invasive therapy, listening to music can provide cognitive, psychosocial, motor, and behavioral benefits for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s without side effects.

By supporting moments of cognitive lucidity and engagement, music interventions can also help to foster a sense of connection between people living with Alzheimer’s and their loved ones.

Frequently Asked Questions

What would life be like without music?

Life without music would be vastly different and potentially less fulfilling. Music has the ability to evoke emotions, create memories, and bring people together, making it a crucial aspect of our lives.

Without music, there would be a lack of rhythm and melody in our daily lives, making it harder to find joy, solace, and meaning in our experiences. Music has the ability to stimulate multiple parts of the brain at once, leading to an enhanced emotional response and making it a valuable tool for regulating emotions and managing stress.

Moreover, without music, there would be a loss of cultural identity and heritage, as traditional music often showcases the cultural heritage of a specific community, preserving its history and traditions. In addition, music has the potential to aid in personal growth and self-discovery, providing a form of self-expression and introspection.

What music teaches us?

Music has the ability to teach us various important life lessons and values in a deeper and more impactful way. Some of the lessons that music can teach us include:

Empathy and understanding: Music can evoke emotions and bring people together, promoting empathy and understanding across cultural and linguistic barriers.

Self-expression: Music provides a platform for individuals to express themselves, promoting self-discovery and personal growth.

Perseverance and hard work: Engaging in musical activities, such as playing an instrument or composing music, requires dedication, practice, and hard work, teaching individuals the importance of perseverance and determination.

Creativity: Music has the ability to stimulate creativity, inspiring individuals to think in new and innovative ways and encouraging them to explore their imagination.

Teamwork: Participating in musical activities, such as playing in a band or singing in a choir, promotes collaboration and teamwork, helping individuals to work together towards a common goal.

Cultural appreciation: Music reflects the beliefs, values, and experiences of a particular society or group, providing a window into different cultures and promoting cultural appreciation.

Emotional intelligence: Music has the power to evoke emotions and provide a sense of self-expression, helping individuals understand and regulate their emotions and develop emotional intelligence.

Does music help people focus?

Yes, music has the potential to help individuals focus and improve their attention. Research has shown that certain types of music, such as classical or instrumental music, can calm the mind, reducing distractions and allowing individuals to concentrate better. Additionally, the rhythm and tempo of music can provide a useful timing and pacing tool, helping to keep individuals on task and focused.

However, it is important to note that not all types of music are equally effective at promoting focus. Some types of music, such as music with lyrics, can be distracting and actually interfere with focus. Therefore, choosing the right type of music for your needs and preferences is important.

Why do we form connections with certain songs and artists?

There are several reasons why people form connections with certain songs and artists:

Emotional connection: Music can evoke emotions and memories. People often associate songs with specific moments in their lives, such as a first dance or a road trip with friends. This emotional connection can make the music and the artist feels personal and meaningful.

Shared experiences: Music can bring people together and create a sense of community. When people attend concerts or listen to the same music with friends, they can bond over their shared experiences and form a deeper connection with the artist and their music.

Cultural identity: Music can reflect and shape cultural identity. People may identify with a particular genre or artist because the music represents their cultural background or personal beliefs.

Personal taste: People’s musical tastes are influenced by various factors, including their upbringing, personal experiences, and exposure to different types of music. When people find an artist whose music aligns with their taste, they may form a connection with the artist and their music.

Can music be used as a form of therapy?

Yes, music has been used as a form of therapy for centuries. Music therapy is a clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to address the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. It involves a trained music therapist who uses music to achieve therapeutic goals and improve the client’s overall well-being.

Music therapy has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of issues, including stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and pain management. It can also be used to improve cognitive function, communication skills, and physical rehabilitation.

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