Music Affects Mood

What Type Of Music Are You In The Mood For?

If you’re like me you enjoy all types of music. Music is an essential part of everyday life for most people. Whether we are driving in a car, out for a morning jog or simply sitting at home. Music unquestionably affects our emotions. We tend to listen to music that reflects our mood. When we’re happy we may listen to upbeat music; when we’re sad we may listen to slower, moving songs; when we’re angry we may listen to darker music with heavy guitar, drums, and vocals that reflect our level of anger. We may not know why we prefer the music we listen to, except to say that we resonate with or feel the music, or just that they are songs we like.

Music also can be an effective coping strategy. We can listen to music that elicits emotions we want to feel in a given moment. If we feel lazy and unmotivated, maybe a playlist of uptempo, energetic songs would be a helpful way to change our mood. It could be interesting to create playlists based on various emotions so they’re within reach as desired.

Genre Effects

Certain type of music holds the power to elevate a person’s mood above worries and relieve depression. Although classical music is one of the least popular music selections among many teenagers, it is one of the most empowering. Classical music had been found to reduce tension and put a person in a sense of calmness.

Country music, although quite popular among many teenagers, is one of the genres that don’t promote happy feelings. In fact country music has been linked to depression and suicide.

Rap or hip hop music has varying effects on people, especially young adults. Rap songs have been said to be conducive to violent behaviors. Rap songs are more known to promote angry feelings than any other music choice. However, a lot people state that rap music makes them feel more relaxed. Others feel more energetic and happy because a lot of rap music promotes dancing and movement.

The effects of rock and punk music are similar to those of rap. It can leave a listener feeling angrier than before, but at the same time gives them an adrenaline rush like no other kind of music. This adrenaline rush of energy can actually increase happiness in certain individuals. It allows people to escape from their situations and relieve some built up stress. The effect of rock and roll will really just depend on the person listening to it.

A study published on investigated the impact of different types of music on tension, mood, and mental clarity. A total of 144 subjects completed a psychological profile before and after listening for 15 minutes to four types of music (grunge rock, classical, New Age, and designer). With grunge rock music, significant increases were found in hostility, sadness, tension, and fatigue, and significant reductions were observed in caring, relaxation, mental clarity, and vigor. In contrast, after listening to the designer music (music designed to have specific effects on the listener), significant increases in caring, relaxation, mental clarity, and vigor were measured; significant decreases were found in hostility, fatigue, sadness, and tension. The results for New Age and classical music were mixed. Feeling shifts among subjects were observed with all types of music. Designer music was most effective in increasing positive feelings and decreasing negative feelings. Results suggest that designer music may be useful in the treatment of tension, mental distraction, and negative moods.

Music Therapy

Music therapy has been used for centuries as a way to restore energy, improve mood, and even help the body heal more naturally.

Music is widely used to enhance well-being, reduce stress, and distract patients from unpleasant symptoms. Although there are wide variations in individual preferences, music appears to exert direct physiologic effects through the autonomic nervous system. It also has indirect effects by modifying caregiver behavior. Music effectively reduces anxiety and improves mood for medical and surgical patients, for patients in intensive care units and patients undergoing procedures, and for children as well as adults. Music is a low-cost intervention that often reduces surgical, procedural, acute, and chronic pain. Music also improves the quality of life for patients receiving palliative care, enhancing a sense of comfort and relaxation. Providing music to caregivers may be a cost-effective and enjoyable strategy to improve empathy, compassion, and relationship-centered care while not increasing errors or interfering with technical aspects of care.

Use of Songs in Music Therapy With Cancer Patients and Their Families

In a cancer setting, patients and their families often report feelings of physical and/or emotional pain. The use of songs in music therapy is effective in providing them with important means for support and tools for change. The verbal messages about people, places, feelings, events, and desires encourage resolution of issues and processing of grief. This article reviews some of the needs of cancer patients and their families and the goals and stages in music therapy. It then explores song choice themes and methods for achieving therapeutic goals. Two case studies are presented to demonstrate the work. (1984, The American Association for Music Therapy)

Effects of Music Therapy on the Self-Esteem of Emotionally-Disturbed Adolescents

Self-esteem is a major concern in the overall treatment of emotionally-disturbed adolescents. Music therapy has been demonstrated to be an effective modality for this client population and has also been shown to increase self-esteem. Therefore, the purpose of one study was to determine the specific effects of music therapy upon the self-esteem of emotionally-disturbed adolescents. Nineteen subjects who were identified as emotionally-disturbed participated in the study while attending a private school. Ten subjects received six weeks of music therapy treatment which focused on creative, expressive activities within a group context. As a control group, nine subjects received six weeks of verbal therapy treatment with parallel activities.

All subjects were pre- and post-tested with the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory. No significant differences were found between the groups as a result of the treatment. However, differences were found in the processes of the two groups, as described in the daily notes. Suggestions are given for designing future research in this area. (1989, The American Association for Music Therapy)

Efficacy Of Music Therapy For Premature Infants

This meta-analysis on music research with premature infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICU) showed an overall large, significant, consistent effect size of almost a standard deviation. Effects were not mediated by infants’ gestational age at the time of study, birthweight, or type of music delivery nor by physiologic, behavioral, or developmental measures of benefit. The homogeneity of findings suggests that music has statistically significant and clinically important benefits for premature infants in the NICU. The unique acoustic properties that differentiate music from all other sounds are discussed and clinical implications for research-based music therapy procedures cited. (2002 Elsevier Science)

Perhaps no one, be he a music expert or casual listener, would deny the fact that music and mood can never be separated. Some music may not describe a story, but all music must express, strongly or softly, a certain emotion or a mixture of emotions. In consequence, music listeners often experience some sort of affective responses.


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