Music and Mental Health

Music and Mental Health

Why music is beneficial to students’ mental health.

While engaging our emotions, music allows us to feel. Feelings and emotions being one of the most unique and crucial parts of the human experience exemplifies the importance of music, especially in our culture today.

According to Musical Mum,  “Music is a universal language… Since music doesn’t rely on words, it has the ability to connect two different cultures in a way that no other form of communication can.”

Music is not only a form of entertainment, but also a form of art that helps people to relax and destress. It displays what is unique in our culture today. Music is the connection between people and culture. It brings people together and creates a safe sanctuary of acceptance to those who need it.

In an environment where stress can be at an all-time high, students are looking for ways to de-stress. Music has countless benefits to not only the world around us, but our minds, too. It provides a healthy coping mechanism for when stress overtakes our thoughts. In school, social interaction takes over the majority of the day.

According to a BBC article, music creates social cohesion and brings people together, creating a barrier from social isolation. With this comes better health and well-being, improved confidence and resilience, and becomes a creative outlet.  Considering that all of these factors are relevant in a school setting, clearly, music can be a helpful tool to students. 

“I think that music can really calm me down when I’m feeling stressed about schoolwork,” Kelsey Quist ‘24 said. “It brings me into another world where I have no worries.” 

The art of music can be very impactful on students and their mental health. It can bring forward hidden emotions that we didn’t know we had. 

“I think music can evoke emotion in ways no other art form can,” Psychology Teacher John Talarico said. “Different styles of music can channel energy in different ways, too: heavy metal or hard rock can help someone process anger while a happier song can bring optimism and uplift someone’s mood. Studies show listening to rap/hip hop can increase feelings of confidence. Reading along with relatable lyrics while listening can help someone feel seen or heard. Heartbreak songs can help someone process a tough breakup. So it’s clearly powerful in many different ways for mental health.” 

Music has the power to take a person’s emotions and thoughts, showing how impactful and beneficial music can be to a student’s mental health. The impact of music can be shown throughout our culture today, playing a huge role in everyone’s life. It’s the foundation of social culture and pop-culture, shaping our modern society. 

“To take it a step further, some bands have managed to create an entire social subculture around their live shows that people can get lost in. It’s the ultimate rabbit hole. Phish, and previously Grateful Dead, are examples of this – every show has a different setlist with songs played in different ways, improvised on the spot,” Talarico said.

“This creates a new element for people to latch onto and many get hooked; before every Phish show you can hear fans around you speculating about what they’re going to play, which songs fans are ‘chasing,’ how it’s so-and-so fan’s 100th show, what song ‘the boys’’ are likely to open with, etc. This level of fan obsession can seem weird to some, but for others, it’s a life-enhancing hobby and escape from the stressors of everyday life.”

Music has also been scientifically proven to be beneficial to students. A study done in 2019 by the Kafkas University in Turkey (https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1232294.pdf) showed that music can lower a person’s stress levels. They found this by taking a group of college students who listened to classical music every day for two months. When looking into the mind of a student, music has been proven to decrease stress, shown both scientifically and from many people’s personal experiences. 

“I personally don’t know what I would do without music–it has been a huge part of my life and my mental health since I can remember,” Talarico said. 

Many students share this same experience, furthering the importance of music and its influence on society and human connection as we know it. 

“I think music can play a huge role in students’ lives. Music can be an escape from stress – or a gateway to processing an emotion that you need to feel to heal. Finding other people who love the same music as you can lead to lifelong friendships with someone deeply on the same wavelength as you. I wish more students understood the power of music and how much potential it has to enhance their life and bring the world around them alive in new ways,” Talarico said. 

Music and its powerful force can be an escape to more comfort and connections with others. It can be uplifting and meaningful to anyone. So, the next time you feel overwhelmed and have a clouded mind, listen to music!

This article originally appeared in The Rock.

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