As mankind evolved, music has always been an important part of our lives. Starting from cavemen inventing music from crude instruments to modern man being able to download any song off the internet, music has evolved with us.
It is hard to find someone who doesn’t like at least one type of music. Even people who don’t consider themselves ‘music lovers’ usually have at least one song they like. The reason why music is such a strong attraction to us is because it has evolved with us for so long – millions of years.
The musical structures and rhythms in our songs mimic the rhythms and structures in our speech, which probably evolved due to the need for mutual coordination.
Benefits of Music
How can music help us? Well, music can do anything from alleviate pain to increase muscle strength.
Compared to conventional therapy, music therapy seems to provide patients with better rehabilitation results and fewer side effects.
As a patient, you will benefit from music therapy if you suffer from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, or aging-related cognitive decline.
According to a study published in Biological Psychiatry, administered music can lead to positive physiological changes. Such effects include lowered heart rate and blood pressure, as well as increased levels of dopamine and noradrenaline. This makes music therapeutic in the treatment of depression and anxiety.
Compared to conventional therapies, music therapy is also less likely to result in therapy-related stress or countertransference on the part of the therapist, the study concludes.
Awesome Therapy Skills
According to another study conducted at Columbia University, performed music is more effective than spoken words at calming stressful patients.
This is surprising but makes sense given that cell therapy centers are increasingly using playing instruments as a way to calm agitated patients but also help them improve their social and emotional functioning.
If you pair this study result with the one mentioned above, it’s obvious that a therapist who plays an instrument would be more effective than one who only speaks.
This also makes sense from a practical point of view. Most therapists have limited timeslots each day to see patients. If a therapist spends time speaking but isn’t making any progress, he or she is wasting time. But if a therapist spends the time playing an instrument, he or she can treat more patients in the same amount of time.
Like any other therapeutic treatment, music therapy takes time and patience. But if you get treated by a musician therapist, you’re probably going to progress faster and more efficiently.
If you are planning to enroll in a cell therapy program, make sure to choose an institution that offers musical therapists as adjunct staff. You will benefit greatly from their presence. Whether you like music or not, you will probably find therapeutic rhythms and sonic textures in most songs, which can help you relax and focus on the music.
As you listen, think about the tempo (rate) of the music--is it relatively slow or fast? What emotions do you associate with slow rhythms or slower tempo songs, versus fast rhythms or tempo songs?
Try listening to music before bedtime and see if it helps you fall asleep more easily. Some people find that recorded soft music can help reduce insomnia and promote a sound night’s sleep.
Listening to fast-paced, energetic music can boost your mood and help you feel more alert and awake.
Active musical beats can help improve your posture by encouraging you to sit up straight and feel more confident in your body’s ability to be in charge of its movements, says Levitin.
If you’re musically challenged, even shallow exposure to music can have a positive effect on your mood, so grab a CD from the library or purchase a song online to help you feel happier and more patient.
A study by the University of San Diego reported that “slow music can lower blood pressure, slow heart rate and reduce stress hormone levels. It can also increase the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream. This may contribute to improved listening experiences and a better quality of slow music.”
Listening to music can also help alleviate pain, even if you’re too injured to treat yourself. A report in the journal Pain noted that patients who listened to their own customized playlist reduced their pain by 30 percent.
Music may even help combat cavities by preventing denture-induced bruxism (grinding). According to the British Dental Association, “Music can be used as a coping mechanism to reduce stress, which is a known risk factor for bruxism. Therefore, audio devices should be recommended as a preventive strategy.”
Playing an instrument or even just listening to music can improve your coordination and enhance your networking skills, which can benefit your learning ability and work performance.
As you can see, there are many benefits to listening to music and playing a musical instrument, no matter what your age. Wikipedia recorded that in 2021, the French pianist, Colette Maze, at age 107, released an album with recordings of Debussy, making her one of the oldest recording pianists in the world.
It’s never too late to start playing or listening – even if you think you’re too old. Peter Harkin, a 78-year-old classical pianist and composer proved just that by winning the Irish Senior Piano Championship at the age of 76.
So, whether you’re working towards becoming a professional musician or simply want to enjoy the benefits of playing or listening to music, there’s no stopping you. Start playing!
About the author
Ben Noynay, 65 years old, is a Music Teacher and a Singer-Songwriter based in Melbourne, Australia. Ben teaches piano, guitar, bass, drums, singing, and songwriting in his home studio. He has also released two volumes of soft and relaxing original piano music, on top of his three English Albums, one Cebuano Album and a series of tracks that you can use as background music for your video creations. Get to know more about Ben’s music at www.bennoynay.com.