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The Power of Music

Billy Joel once said. “I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”

Most of us would agree with this. Everyone can recall at least one song that triggers an emotional response, be it motivational, soothing or otherwise.  But why does music make such a response, considering it is just “sound”?

According to an article by Barbara Else, senior advisor at the American Music Therapy Association: “Because music is hardwired in our brains and bodies … music: with its rhythm, melody, etc.  are part of our physiology, and our being.”

Given the deep connection we have with music, it’s not surprising that studies have shown that music benefits mental health. A 2011 study found that listening to music increases the amount of dopamine – a mood-enhancing chemical produced in the brain that helps deal with depression. A 2011 study found that listening to music is an effective treatment for depression. As Bob Marley said: “One good thing about music is when it hits you feel no pain.”

Dr. Catharine Meads said: “If music was a drug, it would be marketable. … Music is a noninvasive, safe, cheap intervention that should be available to everyone undergoing surgery”.

Yes, but music, like all other “drugs” can be used for either good or ill. Soldiers have marched to battle to the sound of drums, trumpets and the lyrics of the “Horst Wessel leid”. 

Like any other “drug”, music depends on whose using it, and why.