Writing about World Music

Davidson College, Spring 2016

Music Therapy

It is a point in the semester where a lot of stuff is just thrown onto our plates. School work, extracurriculars, ethnomusicological observations, and leisure time all need space in my day, but I only have 24 hours. I found a common denominator in all this stuff: I listen to music through all of them. The last on the list, leisure time, is the most interesting to me because music has become a bit of a therapeutic device. I never thought of music in this light, but some songs really clear my mind and allow me to slow everything down. When I decide to take a 15 minute break, I have compiled a few songs that I play in my room to allow me to catch my breath as I power though this busy time in my life.

My first semester ended with a very stressful week. an exorbitant amount of work blindsided me, and I shut down. I sat in my room, quiet, and calculated how low my GPA could get depending on how poorly I did on my 4 exams and 3 papers in the final week. In my second semester I realized I needed a new approach. I do my best to live stress free, and it seems the biggest change I have made is my short decompress sessions accompanied by my favorite songs.

The playlist I have been listening to consists of a wide range of genres. “Volare” by Dean Martin, “2 phones” by Kevin Gates, Bruce Springsteen classics, “Hay al Amanacer” by Nicky Jam, and “3 Peat” by Lil’ Wayne make for a well rounded grouping of songs. I won’t do work while I sit on my futon, I just listen.

I did a little research to find out if music is actually used in practice to be a therapeutic device, and I was pleasantly surprised that many have used it to settle down. I found that

  1. Music can decrease pain through sensory, attentional, and emotional/affective


  2. Music can enhance initiation of movement through innate responses to the

    rhythmic elements of music.

    These are just the technical reasons behind why music can work in this way, but I highly recommend just chilling out, and listening to some great tunes at this time in the year.

Works Cited: “Therapeutic Uses of Botulinum Toxin.” (2007): n. pag. Web. 23 Apr. 2016.

1 Comment

  1. I find it very intereresting that music can serve as such a therapeutic tool. It doesn’t really surprise me, though. Music is a discipline that transforms feelings and emotions, which is what causes it to have such a large effect on people. I think when it comes to music therapy, there doesn’t necessarily have to be a specific genre that is used primarily. When it comes down to it, I think that it’s about what kind of music that specific person enjoys, rather than one uniform genre.

    For me personally, I like to listen to electronic music whenever I’m feeling sad or tired. The fast-paced beats of the genre energize me and improve my spirits. I love the positive, upbeat tone of the music, and the booming bass sounds. This is a genre that I pretty typically turn to when in need of a pick-me-up. I find it very interesting that contrastingly, you have a very diverse playlist that you rely on to keep your spirits. I find it incredible that music can have this kind of positive, therapeutic influence on people.

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