Music: A Modality for Mental Health

By: WAAM’s Music Impact Research Team

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we looked to WAAM’s Music Impact Research Center, our trusted repository of leading, timely, and actionable research on how music touches our lives and has the power to combat many of the challenges we face in today’s world, to highlight some of the ways that music can support mental health.

Through our research, we found that music:

• Has a powerful effect on our emotions. Whether it’s happy or sad, studies show that music has therapeutic properties such as emotional regulation and brain re-engagement.

• Serves as a form of self-expression and communication. For many, writing or performing music can be an outlet for sharing emotions and reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.

• Can improve cognitive function. Studies have shown that listening to music stimulates memory retrieval, aiding in the recall of information and enhancing cognitive skills. For people living with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, music therapy can be particularly beneficial, improving memory, mood, and quality of life. Music has also showed great promise in helping people living with Parkinson’s disease, improving motor functions in addition to emotional well-being when combined with physical therapies. 

• Fosters social connections and a sense of belonging, bringing people together and improving lives through community support and engagement.

This is just a short compilation of some of the research WAAM has collected on the power of music. We invite you to learn more about how we translate this research into resources that directly affect people’s lives through our grant-giving and community events.