You’re walking to class, one you really don’t want to go too, and one of your favorite songs comes on your iPod. Does your total outlook and demeanor change in that instance? Do you suddenly feel your mood change from depressed to upbeat? The next thing you know, you’re not even thinking how bad that class is going to suck. It was the music. Music can change your mood. It influences your mind. In Drawing, Design, and Semiotics by Clive Ashwin he introduces the 6 principle functions of communication, one being the emotive system. He describes it in a way that it attempts to communicate certain subjective responses of the emitter in terms of, for example, excitement, attraction or repulsion for the thing depicted, or in this case heard. It affects our actions or emotions after we listen to it.
Music, to me, provides an escape and either relaxes me or is able to get my blood pumping and exciting for something. It can do the same for people with an illness. For example, it can lower blood pressure, improve sleep, reduce anxiety, and help children with developmental disabilities and adults with Alzheimer’s disease. If you think about it, this actually does help, but it is actually something I never thought of. The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) was built to help raise awareness to this therapeutic way of medicine. They want to inform the public that music therapy was designed to promote wellness, manage stress, alleviate pain, enhance memory, improve communication, and promote physical rehabilitation.
After researching all of this information, it made me wonder what part of the brain music actually affects. Come to find out, it’s the right. It affects serotonin, which causes pleasure and melatonin, which affects the way you sleep. This is implemented, for example, through therapists using disco to retrain the patient’s brain on how to make rapid movements and the waltz for fluid movements.
Music, in general, can take you away from reality and change the way you confront the world and your experiences. It’s the one place you can go to get away and be yourself. It may not cure you, but it’s a great alternative prescription that you don’t have to swallow or inject.