Music is a moral. It gives soul to the universe, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything- “Plato”
Music has a role to play in our daily life; some rely on it to get them through the morning commute and not to forget – it’s only a great music track which helps you to keep your calm when you are stuck in bad traffic.
An enthusiastic track played in the gym pumps up your energy levels, and the real fun starts when you match your steps with the beats of the song during a workout.
Whether it’s cooking, taking a shower or doing laundry, music is something which goes well with everything.
Music has a direct link with mood, right from those dance numbers in weddings to the soft songs which makes you miss that special someone. Because music can leave such an impact on an individual’s mindset and well-being, music therapy has been studied for years now, in managing various medical conditions.
In music therapy, music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. It’s known that listening to your favourite music can instantly put you in a good mood. But scientists are now discovering that music can do more for you than just lift your spirits.
How does it work?
The autonomic nervous system which is a part of our central nervous system is responsible for controlling our blood pressure, heartbeat and brain function. It also controls our limbic system which is responsible for expressing our emotions. Research has shown that when slow rhythms are played, it slows down the heartbeat, and the blood pressure, which in turn helps us breathe more slowly and eventually relaxes muscles. Music reduces anxiety and improves mood for medical and surgical patients, for patients in intensive care units and patients undergoing procedures, and for children as well as adults.
Studies conducted on Music
- Music promotes the development of children with developmental delay: A study was carried out by D Aldrige, G Gustroff and L Neugebauer (1995) which showed that children with developmental delay improved markedly with the introduction of music. It had a positive impact on their interpersonal relationships, learning and active listening skills.
- Listening to music reduces anxiety: K Allen (2001) conducted a study on patients who were about to undergo surgery, with the objective of assessing if selected music reduces the level of surgical stress. The results showed that the individuals in the experimental group experienced lower blood pressure before surgery when compared to the members of the control group, and also a lowered the perception of stress and pain.
- Listening to music reduces depression: Hanser (1994) in a study of the effects of music on the mindset of older adults, reported that music can significantly lower depression. In this study, elderly patients suffering from various states of depression were divided into 3 groups. The first group received regular visits from a music therapist; while the other group received therapist intervention over the phone calls and the third was a control group with no form of intervention at all. The group which was introduced to musical intervention proved to do better on standardized tests for depression.
Instead of viewing music only as a cultural phenomenon, Bartel says, “The art should be seen as a vibratory stimulus that has cognitive and memory dimensions”.
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- Amy Novotney, Music as medicine, American psychological association, November 2013, Vol 44, No. 10, http://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/11/music.aspx
- Why listening to music is the key to good health, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-137116/Why-listening-music-key-good-health.html, accessed on 26 May 2016
- Allen K. et al. Normalization of hypertensive responses during ambulatory surgical stress by perioperative music. Psychosomatic Medicine, Vol. 63, May/June 2001, pp. 487-92.