The Healing Power of Music


via Effect of Music Therapy on Symptoms in Schizophrenia.

Finally! A meta-analysis on the effects of music therapy shows that it is associated with improvements in psychosis symptoms. As someone who has been co-facilitating an expressive arts therapy group in the past year, I wholeheartedly agree that music–and art, in general–is a helpful tool in reducing symptoms and improving overall functioning. The mere ability to play a musical instrument takes some form of learned skill, and for musical skills to be utilized, the brain has to be active. Such prolonged activity boosts cognitive processes, which may be impacted by serious mental illness. Playing music is a way to help exercise the brain and get it running. Cognitive control is a process that requires the activation of the frontal lobe, the part of the brain that manages our day-to-day decision-making, impulsivity, reasoning, and ability to organize ourselves. In a way, playing music reactivates the frontal lobe and helps it get back into shape. Playing music also taps into all the other regions of the brain, such as the sensorimotor areas (important for movement and sensation), temporal (staying on beat), and occipital (vision) areas of the brain.