Music as Therapy

If you were to choose between being blind or being deaf, what would it be? It’s a tough question to consider but most often weighed up by what you would prefer to sacrifice most – either the ability to see the beauty of the sky, smiles, body language, your dog’s big brown eyes, dolphins… or the ability to hear the beauty of bird song, laughter, rustling breezes, the ocean crashing, music. Ask any musician or music lover and they’d likely say blind over deaf (merely a presumption, not a fact). For auditory people though, it’s a fair bet that music is essential in their life, a deep-centred belief that without the joys of music they would likely be at the mercy of all sorts of modern mental ails.

Musicians are a special breed onto their own and, although not necessarily scientifically proven (though it could make an interesting thesis study), musicians seem to recognise each other in a strange telepathic way. Go to another band’s gig and it is highly likely that the performer will gravitate to fellow musicians in the crowd and strike up a convo.  Like a secret underground society, fellow musicians recognise the look of other musicians, perhaps the clothing or the rhythmic way a musician walks or perhaps, more obviously, the way they are intently focussed on the performance (a dead giveaway).

Still, the empathy between musicians cannot be underestimated as they understand the need for said music in life, the therapeutic benefits of playing whether on stage or in the bedroom. Muso’s share a life journey together – they understand why you picked up that guitar and hid in your bedroom for hours on end to get away from the pains and rigidity of school, work or your annoying family and to set free that something deep inside of you, some annoying itchy emotion, that is far better out than in. Playing music equalled therapy that in some cases steered a person away from a life that was lesser lived. Can you imagine the life choices of Keith Richards, Ozzy Osbourne or Iggy Pop, if they didn’t decide to play music??

Listening to music is proven to assist dementia, autism, child development in the womb, insomnia, depression, anxiety and more (source: Psychology Today, Music as Therapy). A particular song can help through a painfully hard time in life or be a happy memory of a great time. It can be a tribute, a mantra, a heart-wrenching reason to cry (hey, better out than in remember?) or a broader rise in consciousness, a call to action and deeper reflection on the world – consider the influence of Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell or Bob Dylan on the world.

Think about the songs that inspired you during particular times in your life. An interesting exercise (and satisfyingly self-indulgent) is to create a playlist of the music that resonated with you over your life, starting from your earliest memory. Feel free to share your playlist or let us know what song or music in general has got you through your particular journey.

(And don’t forget to support musicians, they like that, by heading to your local live music venues!) 😉




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