From our Old Hippie: the healing power of music

How often have you turned to music for a particular reason: pain, loss, trauma, fear, etc.?

Music heals. You may not even know it at the time, but it works. I’m not going to cite a bunch of science for proof; just myself, friends, and family:

The Used//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsPhoto via Matthew Pock

What I have seen it do for [my daughter] is quite a bit. It has helped her find her voice. Not being able to easily express herself, the lyrics helped make sense of what she was feeling and gave those feelings a voice. It helps ease the loneliness in knowing you are not alone in your struggles. It calms the sensory overload that many children and adults have with autism. Music creates another world to escape from stress, fear, anxiety, etc. -Jaime Terry

 


Right now I am listening to Serj Tankian with SOAD (System Of A Down) as back-up to an orchestral performance. Why? I feel weak, and Serj and the group are empowering. There is power in their words, performance and politics.

Music flows like water, so it has a way of unblocking Prana. If there are lyrics, they can help you articulate a feeling. For me, Punk bands like Black Flag, the Germs, the Damned cheer me up with their rants. But sometimes when I’m really blue music can make me feel worse because if a song is real excellent it hits the spot too well. -Fredrick Gubitosi

My Chemical Romance//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsPhoto via Dianna Augustine

For me, music has always been the thing that has comforted me, kept me focused, and even the will to fight. I can remember times when all was lost in my head, I couldn’t see any reason to go on, but then I’d drift off into this musical space that would reassure me that I can do this, that I can keep going at least one more day. I attribute music for the very reason I still live and breath. So yes it can heal.
-Kevin Daniels

In my teen years, the sixties, I would cry with Lesley Gore and “It’s My Party” and later to Janis Ian’s “At Seventeen.”

Puscifer//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsPhoto by Cynthia Haithcock

Music can be like a soundtrack to our lives, it can heal as well as open old wounds. But for me, when life has got me all in a stint, I have a go to soundtrack that seems to always ground me. I have a little playlist by my favorite vocalist, Maynard James Keenan. It has changed slightly over the years but always starts with “Push It” live from Salival. That song alone can heal my soul. -Diane Woodcheke

I was an outsider. I am no longer an outsider for my liberalism and stances on the rights of many and rights of the planet and its creatures has me in a great group of old Hippies and Millennials. Tattermask - 19//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsPhoto by Kevin McGee

As a musician, being onstage really is therapy. It’s the only place where I can display the full strength of my emotions and have it be an asset instead of a liability. I literally go a little less sane without that outlet.
-Amanda Tattermask

My musical interests are wildly eclectic; classical to rap and everything in between. There is music that I find offensive: rape, sexism, and violence. But my musical tastes are like a medicine to me.

As of late, music has been the thing that helps me understand just what I’m feeling. I have a really hard time articulating exactly what I’m feeling and just let it all bundle inside, leaving me anxious and confused. The music I’ve been listening to, whether it’s new stuff or the albums I got into years ago, have helped me put a name to what’s going on in my brain. Does any of this make sense? Maybe I need to throw on some music to help me describe this better…
-Shiela Walsh

During physical pain, my choice is rock with heavy bass; really heavy. I feel nothing physical. My mind is totally wrapped around the bass.

Music heals. The music must mesh with the individual’s need though. A soldier with PTSD probably wouldn’t choose loud and pounding rock, but maybe soothing sounds or music from their youth.

Crowd 01//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsPhoto by Bobby Whitmire

The effects of music can change as you do. Music heard during a traumatic event may have you never listening to it again and then the opposite applies when music has helped you.

Music has helped me my whole life – I’ll say two mainstays on how it has healed:

When an angsty teen, taking care of a hippie mom and all the stresses that come with that time in life I had a WALKMAN and a bench at the end of my road that overlooked the ocean. Those combined would heal me late at night when I would run there to cry, scream, and just chill depending on the fluctuating mood.

In my late teens/early 20s music healed me through a tragic loss – a concert floor was where I actually felt normal again. No tears, no spinning, no illness, no goodbyes. The sounds cradled me with open arms and led for me to express my feelings in dance, hugs, screaming lyrics I came to adore, when true words escaped anyway for me to express them.

As I grew and my body decided to get sick with the big C, I would listen to my headphones to get into my positive place, even if it was the angsty teen music, metal, a symphony, or some of my favorite singer-songwriters I listened so I didn’t punch something, scream, or cry too much. I needed to save my energy. I longed to feel something other than like I was dying. It gave me wings when nothing else could. It gave me strength in the moments I felt weakest. Let me focus on healing my body for my family, for my kids, for myself.

I grew up on the road traveling with bands and at times I’d just try to remember on all the sights I had seen and all the music and musicians I had experienced to keep going. I have always said music saved my life, it healed me even when the doctors said I was not going to make it. Nine years later here I am still kicking ass, still taking names, and music is my life – career, savior, passion, all.
Creator of Shutter 16 Magazine – Dianna Augustine

I would love comments on how, and what type(s) of music help you in any way.

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