Mental Health

How does music affect your mood?

Music is a powerful tool to assist with managing our mental health. We experience music in so many different ways, whether that’s the sound of car horns while driving to work or playing our favorite songs on full blast to motivate us when cleaning. Music Therapists have extensive knowledge about how music can address various areas of mental health, including, but not limited to: altering mood level, increasing regulation, providing opportunities for self-expression, and increasing self-confidence. One experience that Music Therapists often utilize to target mental health goals is lyric analysis. Lyric analysis is a tool to increase intentionality in our listening, relate musical themes to our own lives, and encourage supportive interaction between peers.


Why is intentional listening important? What if I want to just listen to my music and turn off my brain for a while?
While music can be a great healthy distraction from the hustle and bustle of our day to day lives, our Music Therapist, Savana, makes a great point. “There could be certain messages and things influencing us [in our music] that we don’t even realize.” Active music listening can encourage us to think critically about the sounds, feelings, and messages that we take in and decide if the distraction is truly healthy or not. Understanding the content and connections that you consciously and subconsciously make with music can help you be intentional about selecting music to meet your needs.

Themes in Our Lives

Being intentional about music helps us to identify themes and associate them with real life experiences; past, present, or future. The music we listen to can inform our responses and actions when dealing with these experiences.

What if I disagree with someone about the meaning of a song?

When facilitating a group lyric analysis as a Music Therapist, I often run into participants having differing opinions about the messages and themes within songs. I bring in songs for conversation and exploration of specific themes, however, everyone has their own perspective on the world; therefore, it is important to validate all themes that are presented to the group. It is a great reminder that we are all independent from each other and bring unique experiences to the table; there are no right answers when it comes to lyric analysis!

Support from Peers

Lyric analysis provides opportunities for peers to interact with and build rapport with each other. Discussing the meanings and themes provides a means for fluid and guided conversation between others. This can also support interaction outside of the Music Therapy environment. Increasing our understanding of the meaning of our favorite songs can help us find common ground with the people we choose to surround ourselves with.

What if my best friend likes the complete opposite kind of music from me?

The types of music that we listen to by no means have to be a perfect representation of who we are as people. Just because one person might like to listen to instrumental or classical music doesn’t mean they can’t find similarities or get along with people who prefer heavy metal or screamo. Diving deeper into the meaning of our preferred music simply provides an avenue for self-exploration and opportunities to connect with others.

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