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The Wonders of Music Therapy in Improving Mental Health

Updated: Jul 5

Group of children participating in music therapy

In a world where mental health is increasingly recognized as a priority, exploring the various avenues that can support our well-being is essential. One such avenue is music, a universal language that has the power to heal and uplift. In this blog, we will delve into how music can positively impact mental health and contribute to overall well-being.

What is Music Therapy?

AMTA (American Music Therapy Association) defines Music Therapy as a clinical & evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.

Music therapy involves the utilization of music and its various elements, such as sound, rhythm, and harmony, to achieve specific objectives, such as reducing stress or enhancing the overall quality of life. A healthcare professional known as a music therapist engages in conversations with individuals to gain an understanding of their unique needs, personal music preferences, and previous musical experiences.

In a study of 99 Chinese heart bypass surgery patients, doctors found that those who received half an hour of music therapy after the operation—generally light, relaxing music of their own choice—had significantly lower self-reports of depression and anxiety than those who rested or received conventional medical check-ins in the same time frame (Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2020). Meanwhile, in conjunction with the Global Council on Brain Health’s strong endorsement of more research on music and brain health, an AARP survey of 3,185 adults found that music has a small but statistically significant impact on people’s self-reported mental well-being, depression, and anxiety.


The Benefits of Music Therapy

Music therapy involves the utilization of music and its various elements, such as sound, rhythm, and harmony, to achieve specific objectives, such as reducing stress or enhancing the overall quality of life.

  1. Emotional Expression and Regulation: Music has an incredible ability to tap into our emotions and provide a safe space for expression. Music can serve as a conduit for these emotions, whether we're feeling joy, sadness, anger, or nostalgia. It allows us to connect with our feelings, process them, and find solace or empowerment through the lyrics, melodies, and rhythms that resonate with us.

  2. Stress Reduction and Relaxation: In our fast-paced lives, stress has become a constant companion. However, music can be a powerful antidote. Listening to calming melodies or engaging in guided meditation with soothing music can help reduce stress levels. The rhythmic patterns and harmonies can slow down our heart rate, lower blood pressure, and promote a state of relaxation, providing a much-needed respite from the demands of daily life.

  3. Mood Enhancement and Elevation: Have you ever noticed how a particular song can instantly lift your spirits? Music has the remarkable ability to evoke emotions and enhance our moods. Upbeat and energetic tunes can boost our energy levels, increase motivation, and create a positive mental state. By curating playlists that align with our preferences, we can harness the power of music to elevate our mood and promote a sense of well-being.

  4. Connection and Social Support: Music has a unique way of bringing people together, fostering a sense of connection and belonging. Attending concerts, participating in music therapy sessions, or even joining a choir or band can provide opportunities for social interaction and support. Engaging in musical activities with others can create a sense of community, reduce feelings of isolation, and enhance our overall mental well-being.

  5. Cognitive Stimulation and Memory Enhancement: Engaging with music stimulates various areas of the brain, enhancing cognitive function and memory. Learning to play an instrument, practicing music theory, or even engaging in active listening can improve concentration, focus, and memory retention. This cognitive stimulation can be particularly beneficial for individuals with neurodegenerative conditions, as it helps maintain cognitive abilities and promotes a sense of accomplishment.




While music has the potential to induce calmness and facilitate healing, the clinical definition of music therapy stipulates that a qualified music therapist must carefully plan and direct the session within the framework of a therapeutic relationship for it to be considered an official form of treatment.



American Psychological Association

National Institute of Mental Health

American Music Therapy Association

National Alliance on Mental Illness


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