How Music Aids in Times of Crisis
Views 16 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 10 - 4 - 2017 | By: Carolyn Deal
Music. It brings happiness to dances, parties, or even just your study session. Most people associate music with the fun and exciting aspects of life, but what happens when life takes a turn for the worse? Music can be used as a catalyst to change someone's negative situation, and improve their physical, emotional, and social well-being.
According to a CNN article by Elizabeth Landau entitled “When Patients have ‘Music Emergencies,’” one study demonstrated “the anti-anxiety properties [of music], another found music was associated with higher levels of Immunoglobulin A, an antibody linked to immunity.” By listening to or playing music, dopamine production increases in the brain, causing feelings of happiness and pleasure to be increased as well. Music improves one’s physical health by boosting immunity, and one’s emotional health by decreasing anxiety and releasing dopamine.
Medically, music therapists use music in different contexts to aid people who have gone through traumatic experiences. Soldiers suffering from PTSD benefit from the nonverbal expression of emotions and reconnection into the community that music provides. Even premature babies are positively impacted; when music is played in the NICU, it gives a sense of normalcy and mitigates the constant beeps of medical equipment.
The positive effects of music are not just limited to correcting chemical imbalances in the brain; it also connects people into a larger community. After the devastation in Texas from Hurricane Harvey, many people were displaced from their homes and forced into shelters. These people were scared for their futures, but music helped them cope and find comfort. In a video called “Polka Music After Harvey,” a local Houston polka band travels around to different shelters and plays for the evacuees. The band members said "We knew there were people here that needed some uplifting and we wanted to come play some songs and maybe put a smile on somebody's face." Music can allow people to forget whatever trauma they are going through, and can give them the ability to find relief and happiness.
In the music industry, several famous musicians like Miley Cyrus and Fall Out Boy are assisting Texans by donating large sums of money and giving benefit concerts across the country. According to a Rolling Stone article, a telethon is airing tonight across television networks and social media platforms to aid those affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Many musicians such as Drake and Beyoncé are performing, and all of the proceeds go to the evacuees and their communities. By acknowledging the struggles that everyone goes through, music can be used to connect a community.
Music. It’s like a warm cup of tea on a cold winter morning. It warms from within, connects a community, and heals whatever is wrong. People find solitude and hope not only from the release of chemicals in the brain, but also because the music they hear can remind them of happy memories from the past. No one's experiences are the same, but together the pain of the crisis is destroyed when people come together in community. Music brings life, hope, and healing to the most tragic of situations.