Music increases health, well-being

Catherine Chu, Reporter

Music, a universal language, can be understood by virtually anyone and everyone. For performers or compos- ers, music can enhance their minds tothink differently and open up a wholenew world of expression and physi- cal coordination. For listeners, music provides an escape into an alternative universe, which is exceptionally beneficial when stress becomes overwhelming. According to the Peterson Family Foundation, music has been proven to build self-esteem and be therapeutic, contributing to the musical therapy spike in these past few years. For highschool students, this is significant, reports that 20% of teens experience depression. With depression becoming prevalent in teens, a way to escape becomes crucial. According to the National Center for Biotechnology, 26 of the 28 studies conducted on the subject demonstrated a significant re- duction in depression levels of people under the age of 35 over time, just from listening to music.

Chancellor of the University of California at San Francisco Sam Hawgood writes that musical therapy is a cognitive-behavioral model of therapy that posits new thoughts, feelings and body states, helping replace dysfunctional patterns and calming patients. According to Time magazine, for high school students who are stressed and anxious, listening to music can lower stress levels, ease pain and regulate a student’s body state. Music can also enhance concentration, and thus is a common tool for students to utilize while studying for tests or doing homework. Despite the misconception that music is distracting, Time magazine reports that a student’s concentration level rises when listening to music, which has been shown to increase academic performance.

Music can also be a form of self-expression. The wide spectrum of abstract compositions, which range from classical to hip-hop, provide freedom for students to express themselves, even if they are not composing themselves. On top of that, students with similar tastes in music can connect and bond with one another. According to Doctor of Psychology Jill Suttie, when two people have similar tastes in music, the release of dopamine around the other person is higher, which makes them feel connected to each other. For this reason, music has also been proven to build lasting social relationships.

Ultimately, for performers and composers, music opens the door to a boundless world of creativity and ex- pression. For high school students, listening to music not only improves overall mental health but creates a healthy environment in which one can perform well academically. Finally, music gives students the ability to communicate and connect with each other, building healthy and long-lasting relationships.