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The Healing Power of Music

Written by Nick McCann

Nick is the owner of NJM Studios, a session guitarist and composer. With a degree in music and years of experience in the industry, he offers a wealth of creative and technical knowledge for all things guitar-related through his music school, providing high-quality music education in a fun and supportive environment.

Trigger warning: death of a parent


For centuries, music has stood as a universal language, a deep calling in the hearts of mankind. Music is not just something that entertains us, but something that has a strong psychological connection to our mental health, treating stress, anxiety and the emotional state of human minds in a soothing manner.


This ability to regulate our emotions is one of the main ways that music can help when it comes to mental health. From anywhere, music could give you energy, make you feel thrilled, or take a moment of silence within you. The beat of the music can elevate your mood, or the melody of more depressing music can be a safe space to allow you to grieve or be sad. It brings up our emotions, our sorrow, allows us to feel them and gives us the opportunity to move through them in a healthy manner.


Music can also be used as an escape from intrusive or uncomfortable thoughts. It allows our mind to step away for a period, to focus on the rhythm, the melody and the lyrics accompanying the rhythm, thus liberating us from the broad reach of the monotonous responsibility of daily life. This little distraction can calm the mind and help us slow down, which can help relieve stress, reduce anxiety and lead to tranquillity and relaxation.


In addition to the emotional and psychological advantages, music can also be helpful for our physical wellbeing. Listening to music has been shown to decrease blood pressure, reduce heart rate and decrease pain. The right kind of music stimulates our nervous system and initiates the release of endorphins which are natural pain relievers and mood enhancing factors.


My love for music is directly connected to my Dad, who sadly passed away in June 2023. He not only introduced me to some amazing music, but also exposed me to the joys of making music. My appreciation for music was invigorated by the bands he played in, the guitar lessons he gave me, and the countless hours on stage we jammed together. His absence has at times been deafening, an impossible silence to crack.


I did not compose for a while after his death, every string in denial of the music we had given it, of the tunes we got to listen to together. Eventually, I made it back to my guitar, teasing out those familiar chords, riding the waves of grief with the music, bringing life to the songs he wrote but never got to show the world.


At that point in my life, it felt like the lowest and most agonizing thing had happened. But every note I played, every song I worked on, was a small gesture toward the process of healing. The music was a sponge for my feelings, a way to tell the world about how the deep, unfiltered wounds were still pulsing in my chest. It was the outlet that allowed me to speak for my heart. Music is my tether to my father, and now a means of paying homage to his spirit in order to heal.


Yes, music has no cure to anything, but it is one of the biggest ways to connect and feel alive. Therefore, we turn to music, to help us regulate our emotions, escape from stress, and relax, making it into a powerful tool anyone can use to enhance their mental health. Whether it be a favourite tune uplifting your spirits or a lullaby soothing your nerves, music of any calibre can heal, provide peace and foster strength.


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