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Music and Wellbeing: How Music Helps
Music and Wellbeing: How Music Helps
During social distancing and lockdown, finding ways to spend your time at home is more important than ever. Music offers a creative outlet and a real benefit to mental wellbeing.
Music is a means of expression, a tool of communication, and a form of entertainment. No matter how you engage with music, there are proven benefits to your mental wellbeing.
Music for entertainment
At its core, music is a wonderful form of entertainment, with genres for any taste. Your favourite form of music can also be used to enhance your mood, relieve stress, and even help you sleep more soundly.
Feel better: Dopamine is widely known as the feel-good neurotransmitter, being released in response to pleasurable stimuli. In 2011, researchers at McGill University in Montreal found that dopamine is also released in response to music. Reported in the Nature Neuroscience journal, dopamine was found to be 9% higher in volunteers when listening to enjoyable music.
Relieve stress: One study in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) found that music was able to make people more resilient to stressful situations. Participants were better able to deal with challenging events after listening to their favourite tracks.
Sleep better: While it may seem obvious to many of us who use music to sleep, classical music has also been tested and shown to effectively reduce sleeping problems.
See our range of Home Audio gear to get the most out of your music at home.
Music for learning
Learning an instrument or developing a new musical skill is a fantastic way to spend your time. As well as giving you the means to express yourself, you’ll be helping your wellbeing by practising many important skills.
Improved memory: Researchers have found that musical training is an effective method for neuro-rehabilitation. People who learn an instrument have better verbal memory, spatial reasoning, and literacy skills. Playing an instrument allows you to engage both sides of your brain for maximum cognitive development.
Life skills: Discipline. Patience. Perseverance. Learning an instrument or how to produce music isn’t always easy, but if you persevere, you’ll find it to be one of the most rewarding pastimes you can do. Learn about theory, learn about technique, learn about gear: no matter where your interest takes you, there’s something for everyone.
Better grades: You may not be learning music to do better at school or at work, but that may be the indirect result! One research study suggested that music training in adolescents resulted in better school performance. The causes of this may have been the development of the life skills mentioned above.
Fun: learning music gives you the chance to be creative. To express yourself and spend time making something new. Above all else, music is a fun activity which can be taken any way you want – music production, DJing, synths and sound design, jazz, classical, rock, pop… the list goes on.
See our Music Starter Packs to get started with a new skill – podcasting, creating music, recording, streaming online, learning an instrument, and more.
Music for socialising
Socialising in person is not an option right now. However, many musicians are making the best of a bad situation by streaming online, hanging out in forums, taking online classes, and learning something new.
Even if we’re currently undergoing social-distancing, that doesn’t mean we should be social-isolating. Creating music together is a key function of society, and the very act of synchronising beats has been shown to form positive bonds between people, even when the other person can’t be seen.
Music opens the doors to a huge range of online communities. No matter which direction you take your music making, you can guarantee there’s a community ready to open its doors to you.
See our Podcasting Equipment to find the perfect equipment for socialising online. Everything you use to podcast is also perfect for streaming online!
Read our Podcasting Guide to see how to get started.
Music for therapy
Sound Therapy is a branch of healing that uses Sound Therapy Instruments to promote health and well-being. Gongs and singing bowls are staple instruments, used to support meditation and relaxation.
Sound healing dates back to ancient Greece, where music was embedded into core mythology. Today, music therapy uses music to stimulate memory, form positive connections, and improve self-awareness. (British Association for Music Therapy). Music therapy is used with children and young people, those with learning disabilities, autistic spectrum conditions, elderly people, and many more.
See our Sound Therapy Instruments – including gongs, chimes, singing bowls, tongue drums and more.
Read our complete guide to Sound Healing.
But what if I’m already a musician?
For a professional musician, dedication to the craft is pursued because we love making music, but it may not necessarily provide the same kind of escape as it would for others.
While music is beneficial for mental wellbeing, for those who earn a living with music, the current social distancing measures are a real challenge.
Mental wellbeing can be improved in many other ways, and there is support available.
Help Musicians: An independent UK charity for professional musicians of all ages and genres. Find advice on health & welfare, Coronavirus support – both financial and wellbeing, protecting your hearing, and more.
The Musicians’ Union: A UK union offering legal support, guidance, financial support, and more for professional musicians and creatives.
The Incorporated Society of Musicians: A UK professional body for musicians, with useful connections, advice, legal/financial support, and more.
NHS – Mental Wellbeing While Staying At Home: As part of the NHS’ Every Mind Matters mental health support, the NHS also offers useful advice and resources for maintaining your mental wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak.
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