March is music therapy awareness month in Canada. A month for music and therapists to come together to advocate and educate the world about the wonders of music therapy. Music therapists strive to guide their clients through development, rehabilitation and their health goals through musical expressions and experiences.
Research has shown that music can benefit people struggling with depression and anxiety and therapists use music to promote mental and emotional health and can also help people with physical health problems as well. Individuals who struggle with mental health issues often seek solace in music, either for relaxation purposes or to simply tune out the world around them. People who struggle with social anxiety and have a hard time in crowded places, find comfort in keeping their headphones in their ear and playing music to make them unapproachable will also making them feel less alone.
Music Therapy Awareness Month hopes to share the benefits of music therapy to those who have never heard of it and wish to seek help for their mental health struggle through a different method. By using the hashtag #WorldMusicTherapyDay, musicians, therapists and advocates can share their stories and experiences on social media and encourage those who need help to seek help.
As college and university programs are changed to online lectures, students are expected to manage their own time and attempt to successfully make it through their school year mostly isolated. This new reality for most of us can be overwhelming and sometimes feel like it’s not attainable. The burden on students to teach themselves content can be frustrating and stressful. College students are also more prone to anxiety, depression and relationship problems which can affect their overall quality of life, not just quality of work. Especially during the last few months, with the pandemic still looming over heads and all of the uncertainty surrounding our future goals and plans, music can be a stabilizing source in our lives. Even if you’re not struggling with mental health issues, music provides a much-needed escape that we could all use right now and learning what kind of music to listen to according to your mood and feelings can improve the experience beyond just listening.
Sometimes it’s the little things that can help ward off stress to help students push forward during stressful weeks. Something that has been proven to help the human mind wave off stress is listening to music. Sometimes hospital patients will listen to music on headphones to reduce stress and anxiety before a surgery. It is also proven to help disabled and distressed children by bringing them a sense of security and coordination. Music therapy is also something that has increasingly improved the quality of life for cancer patients as it helps reduce emotional distress.
The Canadian Association of Music Therapists continues to make sure that every Canadian will have access to music therapy should they need it, as results from it have proved positive in the past. Music therapists are now part of many healthcare and educational services such as hospitals, rehabilitative facilities, clinics, mental. Health centres, senior centres, drug and alcohol programs and more. Not only by listening to music but also participating in musical expression, to find more creative ways to deal with mental health that are healthier than the alternative. Expression through music and different art forms can also provide a feeling of purpose and potential, and having something to look forward to doing everyday can greatly improve someone’s quality of life and outlook.
Use the hashtag #WorldMusicTherapyDay to share your experience and how music impacts your life and visit The Canadian Association of Music Therapists to learn more about the work they do for patients and students. Knowing how much music has helped with my state of mind, my concentration and overall happiness, I know a more directed and specific approach to listening to music or creating music through music therapy could only help me more. Sometimes we need more than someone who is willing to listen. Sometimes we need an escape from reality, from the everyday pains we struggle with and the mind clouding anxiety that looms over our every words and actions.