Music and Therapy

I’ve wanted to write more about music for quite some time, but it just feels like such a monumental task. Music means so much to me. I believe it is one of the most powerful forces on the planet. I love this quote by Victor Hugo – “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” Music is a language that speaks to the very core of my soul. Music is therapy.

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I’ve always loved music, but it was in high school that I first started to truly understand the power it has. I started listening to classic rock from the sixties and seventies. Here were these artists/musicians who had lived decades before I had, but who sang songs that I understood and could relate to. They sang songs about . . . me. The music was there for me in a way no one or nothing else could be. Not just rock, but classical, new age, world. The words, the music, spoke to my soul.

I think most of the time I take music for granted, it is such a part of my life. I have it playing all the time, especially in the car. I’m that crazy person you see totally rocking out as I drive—the one you point and laugh at! It’s okay, I’ll take it! Then, I’m reminded again. This one day, a couple of weeks ago, Pink Floyd’s Eclipse came on as I was driving home from a therapy appointment. I must have heard that song and the whole Dark Side of the Moon album at least a hundred times, probably more, in the last twenty years, and yet I was still amazed at what an incredible song it was. It gave me chills. The same thing happens every time I listen to Stairway to Heaven. I know it probably sounds incredibly cheesy, but that song, and Led Zeppelin, changed my life. It’s my favorite song in the world. Sometimes, when I hear it, I wonder if I’ll still love it as much as the first few times I heard it. It couldn’t possibly still be as powerful now, right? And yet, it is. I still get this . . . feeling inside when I hear it. A feeling of who I truly am and who I want to be. It’s amazing.

Music definitely has the power to affect how we feel—our mood. There are times when I’m feeling down, depressed, sad, and I’ll throw on music that only enhances those feelings. Bad, I know, but sometimes I want something that can relate. Other times, I put on something I know will put me in a better mood. Often, my rock ‘n’ roll can do that! I also have a “reminisce” playlist on my ipod. I call it that because it is music my friends and I listened to in junior high and high school. No Doubt, Alanis Morisette, Sheryl Crow, Third Eye Blind, Smash Mouth, Collective Soul and even Metallica’s No Leaf Clover. These songs remind me of better, or at least simpler, days and always manage to make me happy, no matter how down I’m feeling.

Of course, music can’t be on all the time, but it is a great supplement to my mental health. I highly suggest checking out the benefits of music therapy. According to the American Music Therapy Association, “Music Therapy is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.” For anyone who has found traditional forms of “help” or therapy ineffective, give music therapy a try. I really do believe in the power of music.

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