Music is an integral part of the human experience from the drumbeats of our ancient ancestors to today's unlimited streaming services. Researchers have pondered the possible therapeutic and mood-boosting benefits of music for centuries. According to recent research from Durham University in the United Kingdom, even sad music brings most listeners pleasure and comfort. Conversely, the study found that for some people, sad music can cause negative feelings of profound grief. Focusing on the emotions and memorable experiences associated with listening to sad songs, the research involved three surveys of more than 2,400 people in the United Kingdom and Finland, where, the majority of experiences reported by participants were positive.
Studies based on Music
As per, Tuomas Eerola, Ph.D., a professor of music cognition at Durham University, in a press release, mentioned, "the results help us to pinpoint the ways people regulate their mood with the help of music, as well as how music rehabilitation and music therapy might tap into these processes of comfort, relief, and enjoyment."
In the study, you may help find relevant reasons for both listening to and avoiding to sad music, differing from person to person. An earlier study, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, found that people tend to prefer sad music when they are experiencing a deep interpersonal loss, like the end of a relationship.
As per the authors of that study, they suggested that sad music at any time provides a substitute for the lost relationships and other similar cases. They compared it to the preference most people have for an empathic friend — someone who truly understands what you're going through.
Upbeat music can bring focus on the joy involved as per parallel research on the subject. A 2013 study in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that people who listened to upbeat music could improve their moods and boost their happiness in just two weeks. As opposed to listening to the sadder tunes of Stravinsky, Participants comparatively succeeded when they listened to the upbeat music of Copland. In the study, participants were instructed to try to improve their mood and a happier mood brings benefits beyond feeling good.
Music as therapy
Music therapy programs can be designed to achieve goals such as managing stress, enhancing memory, and alleviating pain as per the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) reports. It might seem surprising that physical pain gets relief with music, as per a clear link is shown in research.
Compared to those patients who did not listen to music, before, during or after surgery, those patients who listened to music experienced much lesser pain and anxiety. This was revealed by a 2015 review in the Lancet. The music listeners didn't even need as much pain medication. 7000 patients were involved with 73 different trials to collect the data to conduct the study by researchers. Among the people, those who experienced a slightly greater, but non-significant, reduction in pain, and needed the least pain medication, were the ones who got to pick their own music.
"Music should be available to everyone undergoing surgery", it is a non-invasive, safe, cheap intervention as per lead study author Catherine Meads, Ph.D., of Brunel University in the United Kingdom, recommended in a press release. Music therapy can also play a powerful role in treating chronic conditions. For serious mood disorders related to neurological conditions, including Parkinson's disease, dementia, stroke, and multiple sclerosis etc music therapy can be an effective treatment as per a recent review in the World Journal of Psychiatry. It is found that Music is a valid therapy to potentially reduce depression and anxiety, as well as to improve mood, self-esteem, and quality of life as revealed after reviewing 25 trials, as concluded by the researchers. No negative side effects were noted or reported in any of the trials, making music a low-risk treatment.
Music has a profound impact on the brain as per Barry Goldstein, a recording artist who has studied the vibrational effects of music for more than 25 years.
Music can actually enhance brain functions as per a column for Conscious Lifestyle magazine written by Goldstein. Music can evoke emotion, help regain memories, stimulate new neural connections, and active attention as stated by Goldstein.
Creating music can be an effective therapy just like listening to music may bring greater health benefits. According to researchers at the Bournemouth University Dementia Institute (BUDI) in Dorset, U.K.A a unique orchestra for people with dementia was conducted which helped improve their mood and boost their self-confidence. The orchestra is one of several BUDI research projects that aim to demonstrate how people with dementia can still learn new skills and have fun. Along with students and professional musicians, eight people with dementia and seven caregivers participated in the project.
Whether you are actively listening or playing music, it touches everyone in one way or the other, said Anthea Innes, Ph.D., head of BUDI, in a press release. She said that the project challenges the negative public perceptions of people diagnosed with dementia and orchestra has been a life-enhancing project for everyone involved.