Sound and music therapy is an amazing stress management solution. Have you ever been highly stressed or anxious and found that listening to either soothing or raucous music had a calming effect on you? Or maybe you have tried your hand at composing something musical on a piano or guitar or something much simpler like a recorder or a ukulele. Maybe you are a seasoned karaoke pro.
Human beings have been making music for thousands of years, and many theorists throughout history have proposed the idea that music is beneficial to the mind and body, in addition to being enjoyable. There is an old saying that goes, “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast” by William Congreve in his play called The Mourning Bride, written in 1697. The phrase simply means that music has powerful calming abilities. The line is often written incorrectly as “savage beast,” but the meaning is the same; music can enchant even the person who seems the most possessed or deranged, even beastlike.
Reading further into this famous dramatic monologue, we also learn that music may have the power to move objects as proven in the same century by Dutch scientist, Christian Huygens, who conducted experiments with pendulums, in which he found that two pendulums swinging in different rhythms will eventually synchronize themselves when music is added to the scene.
Loewey & Spintge, 2011 reported both Huygens and Congreve, living in the 1600’s, were “a poet and scientist recognizing phenomena, not unlike the perspectives we take on today as we view music’s capacity to effect physiological and psychological aspects of function.”
Listening to and making music appears to reduce heart rate and blood pressure, stimulate various types of brain activity, and provide people with a sense of calmness, safety, or security.
Music therapy can:
People can practice music and sound therapy in a variety of ways, from listening to a piece of music and talking about the feelings it evokes to playing an instrument or writing songs as a method of personal expression.
Music and sound therapy is not about writing a Billboard 100 hit or about producing a gold record. There is no talent or skill required. Some people benefit from listening and others benefit from creating. It’s a lot like dance or movement therapy, writing therapy or art therapy. It’s not at all about the end product, but rather it is about the process.
There are many professionals who use sound and music therapy in their practices. Sound and music therapy is also used in hospitals, at senior’s centres, with at risk youth, with disabled people. This form of therapy can be extremely effective, when used correctly. If you want to add an excellent tool to your stress management toolbox, look no further than sound and music therapy.