Power in Music: Can Listening to a Song Help to Cure Depression and Anxiety?


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At the age of 8, I approached the piano for the first time in a lesson format. The teacher was welcoming and I was excited to begin learning. Yet, there was this anxiety coursing through my body and I grew nervous seeing all of those black and white keys scattered across the instrument. All of a sudden my teacher, Jackie, started to play this wonderful piece by Debussy. It was not so much the inspiration to learn but the actual sounds that made me more calm. From then on, whenever I felt nervous or had a bad week, I would ask Jackie to play me a song. These songs brought me into perspective of place and gave me this nurturing sense of belonging.

Music has the ability to place individuals in different states of mind. When listening, many can recall events in their lives from various times in their lives. From the dawn of man, differing cultures have shown evidence of the use of music for healing or mediative purposes. In 1918, an article was published in The Music Quarterly about this subject. The author, James Frederick Rogers, stated that “music exhibits an influence upon the circulation of blood” and that “musical tones usually increase the beat of the heart and the frequency of respiration” (Rogers 368). The very existence of rhythm and tone has the ability to tap into ones internal circuitry and unleash endorphins and other neurotransmitters. As a medicinal supplement, music would work brilliantly.. In Rogers’ article he highlights a passage in Robert Burton’s “The Anatomy of Melancholy”: “divine music not only [expels] the greatest griefs, but it doth extenuate fears and furies, appeaseth cruelty, abateth heaviness, and to such as are watchful it causeth quiet rest”… “it cures all irksomeness and heaviness of soul” (Rogers 370). It is in our divine nature to be healed by various melodies and tones.

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         Musical therapy have been proven to work in multiple situations. Firstly, the American Psychological Association states that those patients who listened to classical music while getting an ivy felt less pain (www.apa.org). This shows that music can not only make people reminisce about happy times in their lives but it can trick the brain into creating a more euphoric state, thus promoting a less painful environment for the person listening to it. Pursuing this further, I encountered this captivating article about a mentally challenged patient suddenly clinging to his mother for the first time in ten years after listening to a filtered version of her voice. This cure is called sonic rebirth and it is quite interesting. The voice reminded the patient of being in the womb so he cuddled in his mothers lap and sucked his thumb as if he was not born yet. Basically, the article established that music not only benefits people with depression or anxiety but surely helps “people with autism” (http://cobbersonthebrain.areavoices.com/). In conclusion, music allows for everyone to find their place or vibrational niche. The differing tones and rhythms alter the very beats in our body and can change our lives for the better. just listen and enjoy.

Works Cited

“Music as Medicine.” Http://www.apa.org. American Psychological Association, Nov. 2013.                Web. 21 Aug. 2014.

Rericks, J. “Music Therapy: A Possible Treatment for Autism.” Cobbers on the Brain.                          WordPress, 20 Dec. 2011. Web. 21 Aug. 2014.

Rogers, James Frederick. “Music as Medicine.” The Musical Quarterly 4.3 (1918): 365-75.                     JSTOR. Web. 21 Aug. 2014. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/738220?ref=no-x-route:4cffade81a98718e8e216f17d04d6513>.


1 thought on “Power in Music: Can Listening to a Song Help to Cure Depression and Anxiety?

  1. Miranda Nichols

    This sounded like a research paper that I could’ve found online or in some kind of medical journal. I liked the passage you chose and how you added your own commentary, it gives a good example of the influence music can have on our state of mind, and consequently, our health.


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