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Music Is Good for You

You don’t have to play a musical instrument, or sing, to reap the many health benefits of music.  All you need to do is listen to the types of music (genres) that resonate with you. Your your mind, body, and spirit will thank you because music is good for you.

“Where words fail, music speaks.” Hans Christian Andersen

Ask your friends to define the word music and they will probably give you a variety of answers. The love of music is worldwide, but an individual’s encounter with music is deeply personal. I found an uncomplicated definition of music on Musical Mum: At its heart, music is the organized sound of melody, harmony and rhythm that evokes emotions in the listener.

It is hard to describe the power of music in a paragraph or two, so I’ll let the American songwriter and musician Billy Joel do it for me: “I think music 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.”

He goes on: “I can't think of one person I've ever met who didn't like some type of music. More than art, more than literature, music is universally accessible.”

You don’t have to play a musical instrument, be a formally trained musician, or even sing, to reap the many health benefits of music:  Besides being good for your heart, music can improve mood, reduce stress, stimulate memories, relieve symptoms of depression, manage or ease pain, slow down eating, increase workout endurance and help you sleep better.


All you need to do is listen to the types of music (genres) that resonate with you. It will nourish your mind, body, and spirit because music is good for you.

On a personal note…


In the movie Amadeus, the composer Antonio Salieri laments that God gave him the desire for music, but no talent. I always thought the same was true of me.


I learned to read music and play a musical instrument in the public school system. I stayed with it through high school and college. Then I got busy with life and put my cornet down for many years.


When I started playing again, I wanted to join a community concert band but lacked the confidence to do so. It had been a long time since I was part of a musical group. I took a few lessons at a music store to get back on track. The instruction was useful but it was not enough.


I searched bookstores for advice on building confidence and found a used copy of Making Music for the Joy of It by Stephanie Judy. (Tarcher Publishing, 1990) It was exactly what I needed when I needed it.


The author wrote that the word amateur comes from the Latin amare, meaning  ‘to love.’  I discovered that I am an amateur in the truest sense—I love making music. I do not have to be perfect, or the best. It is enough to simply relax and enjoy the journey, mistakes and all.


Exceptional talent is not required for music to enrich your life. So go ahead, listen to, or make, music for the joy of it. Your mind, body and spirit will thank you.


Explore the Benefits of Music

Huntsman Cancer Institute: Six Ways Music Helps with Grief

Music can be used as a tool for coping with grief and loss. It can help us process strong feelings and move us towards healing.

Banner Health: The Benefits of Music on the Mind and Body of Older Adults

Music plays an important role at every age, but for aging adults, the benefits are even greater. Learn the many positive effects music has on older adults and their caregivers, and how to incorporate music into everyday living.

BetterUp: The surprising ways music benefits your brain and body

This article explores the benefits of listening to music for your brain, body, and mental health. Then it looks at the benefits of specific types of music. Learn how to harness the power of music for your overall health and wellness.

Musical Mum: How Music Can Change the Way You Feel

Music has a wide range of emotional and physical effects on us. We know that music can change the way we feel, for better or worse. The only questions that remain are: How much can music do for us? And how can we use music to our advantage?


Verywell Mind: How Listening to Music Can Have Psychological Benefits

Instead of thinking of music as pure entertainment, consider some of the major mental health benefits of bringing music into your everyday life. You might find that you feel more motivated, happy, and relaxed as a result.

NIH: The Pleasures of Sad Music

Compared to other art forms, music has an exceptional ability to evoke a wide-range of feelings. Music is especially beguiling when it relates to grief and sorrow. Why do we commonly try to avoid physical pain, but often directly seek the emotional pain of sadness through music? This neuroscience paper examines how and why listening to sad music can lead to positive feelings.

Cleveland Clinic: Music Therapy: What It Is, Types and Treatments

Music therapy is used for a variety of disorders including cardiac conditions, depression, autism, substance abuse and Alzheimer’s disease. It can help with memory, blood pressure, coping, stress, self-esteem and more. You don’t need a background in music to participate.

American Music Therapy Association: How to Find a Music Therapist

The Downside of Music

Like so many good things in life, the benefits of music depend upon how we use music.


I love music, and believe in its benefits, but it is important to consider some of music's disadvantages:

  • Hearing loss over time

  • Increasing sad, angry, or aggressive feelings*

  • Evoking painful memories 

  • Causing distracted driving

  • Disturbing others with loud music

*Music used as a catharsis for sad feelings can be beneficial, much like the emotional release of a good cry.


Because music is often associated with strong memories or emotional reactions, some people may be distressed by exposure to specific pieces or types of music.

Ask yourself: Does my use of music harm me or help me?

If listening to a certain song or piece of music makes you feel worse, instead of better, try setting it aside for a while and choose another type of music. You can always return to your favorites later.

Psychology Today: 5 Problems Music Can Create

Music has a powerful influence on our bodies and emotions. Is that always good?

AACAP: Listening to Music and Watching Music Videos

Listening to music has always played an important role in learning, expression, and communication. The effect that music has on children and teens can be quite strong.


Mr. Holland's Opus, Richard Dreyfuss, Glenn Headly,  Olympia Dukakis.  Directed by Stephen Herek, Music by Michael Kamen, 1999.

Product description: In 1965, passionate musician Glenn Holland takes a day job as a high school music teacher, convinced it's just a small obstacle on the road to his true calling: writing a historic opus. As the decades roll by with the composition unwritten but generations of students inspired through his teaching, Holland must redefine his life's purpose.

For me, the heart of the movie is about the meaning of music in our lives. Mr. Holland has a deaf son and the father-son relationship between a gifted musician and his deaf child is an important part of the story--a compelling, and rare, portrayal of how people who cannot hear experience music.

Mr. Holland discovers that the path he did not want to take is the one he was supposed to travel all along. The movie is filled with joy, sorrow, humor, and inspiration. Consistently gets five star reviews.

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