How Music Heals In Times of Trauma

Content by Josh Pineda, Adapted From The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).

In honor of Social Wellness Month, we here at Children’s Music Fund want to promote how music therapy can help build healthy relationships and provide a way to manage social stresses. In order to maintain a social wellbeing, it is necessary to cope with the trauma and crisis we face in our lives; music therapy provides the natural & expressive means to do so.


Artwork by Sienna Holmes

According to a 2015 study published in the Frontiers of Psychology journal: “Cultural techniques play an important role in helping communities to recover from trauma. … Music can also play a role in helping individuals and communities to cope with trauma, whether it be through the intervention of music therapists, community music making programs or individual music listening.” Music therapy provides an emotional release for traumatic instances, both on the individual and the community level through the engagement of social soothing.

The AMTA details how music therapy helps in developing a “stronger sense of readiness to cope with day-to-day stressors” through various creative techniques: “The directed use of music and music therapy is highly effective in developing coping strategies, including understanding and expressing feelings of anxiety and helplessness, supporting feelings of self-confidence and security, and providing a safe or neutral environment for relaxation.” It is in this manner that music heals and helps patients reach their wellness goals.

The AMTA also lists some the benefits of music therapy treatment in cases of traumatic incidents:

  • Anxiety and stress reduction
  • Positive changes in mood and emotional states
  • Enhanced feelings of control, confidence, and empowerment
  • Positive physiological changes, such as lower blood pressure, reduced heart rate,
    and relaxed muscle tension
  • Emotional intimacy with peers, families, caregivers

In social, emotional and general wellness, musical therapy has valuable effects. One New York 4th grader who experienced the healing power of music therapy told the AMTA: “Thank you for helping me to understand everything…You taught me to cool down when I was mad. You taught me to solve my problems. You were there when I needed help. The music that played soothed my pain. When I was feeling sad, you were always there to comfort me.” By playing and listening to music that mirrors one’s emotions, music therapy becomes a comfortable release in working out problems, helping children and their surrounding communities cope through the power of musical engagement and performance.

In times of trauma, look towards music therapy to help soothe you in your time of need. Music therapy is a powerful cultural practice that helps in the healing process. We at CMF strive to help improve the community one child at a time, by showing support and telling the benefits of music therapy. Join us in showing & telling by sharing some of the ways that music has helped you cope. Be sure to use the hashtag #musicISsocial, and tag us @theCMForg

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