Power of Music

Nutrition for the Mind and Energy for the Soul

Music can be referred to as the universal language, regardless of how different we are in our preferences, beliefs or place of origin. Music is something that appeals to all of us, like an evolutionary vestige that finds a home in our species and connects us in a greater many ways than what separates us. It comes in many different forms, varying sound qualities, and instruments that can even define a cultural group. You may be an eclectic connoisseur of music and play it according to the activities you are performing or the mood in which you find yourself. Music has the power to make us dance, cry, laugh, and recall memories and defining points in our lives in an instant, that may otherwise present with immense challenge. It is an expression of emotion, feeling and love that may otherwise be impossible to voice in words; for some like myself, it is all encompassing; it is the ultimate expression of life. Music has the capacity to assist people who have neurological disorders and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, in reducing pain, helping calm a physiologically stressed neonate struggling for survival in the NICU (Allen, 2013), in increasing intelligence and memory recall and consolidation, and even helping people overcome anxiety and depressive disorders (2014). The evidence for its medicinal implementation is strong, and rather incontrovertible.

Depression and anxiety are close bedfellows , and depression is estimated to affect about 300 million people worldwide. Additionally, apathy, poor health and dietary outcomes, sleep and weight disturbances and even suicide are major public health problems associated with untreated depression. Other than medications such as SSRI’s to balance levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, a clinical sufferer may feel they have no other methods to alleviate their perpetual feelings of woe and sadness. However, there are many behavioral and alternative methods one can implement, even those without a clinical diagnosis. Music is a simple, holistic and highly effective way to help someone express their overwhelming feelings, and act as a soothing balm for the troubled soul. In a systematic review by S. Aalbers and associates (2017), they found that when combined with medications and occupational therapy, musical therapy statistically improved depressive symptoms, anxiety, as well as psychological, social and occupational functioning.

Research shows that listening to music can produce feelings of euphoria and it activates the pleasure-reward center of the brain and floods it with endorphins. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of musicians, showed that there are more synapses formed in the corpus collusum which is the communicative highway between the right/left cerebral hemispheres. They also showed more activity in the neocortex, which is the “thinking” portion of the brain that makes our brains distinctive from other animals, as well as the motor cortex, cerebellum, and sensory areas as well (Lu, et al., 2015) & (Weinberger, 2006). Even in non-musicians, the enhanced neural activity in certain brain areas, promote development in terms of our emotional, intellectual, working memory, memory recall and our comprehension and language development (2014) & (Castillo, 2010).

Whether your jam is getting lost in a dance haze from the syncopated beats and repeating rhythms of electronic music from artists like, Bicep or the beautiful, classical, intricacies of the distinguished pianist, Chopin, melancholy yet powerful, Imagine Dragon, music is a powerful thing we all share (for a more comprehensive list of songs and artists, check out the NACTYQUE RADIO on Spotify playlist). It is what connects us. It has the power to bring us back from the brink, to heal us body and soul, and improve us physically and intellectually. Ode to joy indeed!


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