GUEST COLUMN: Music of Your Life for Your Life

Updated: Oct 6


By Yvonne M. Glass, MM, MT-BC


We all enjoy certain styles of music, whether it be classical, country, or both.  The artists you swooned over may have been Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald.


There is no correct answer or algorithm as to what develops and builds our musical preferences.  However, the use of preferred music, used in a variety of ways, can have a significant positive impact on our lives.


During Exercise

Using preferred, motivational music can enhance motor tasks, improve performance, decrease perception of exertion, and ultimately serve to increase compliance with a regular exercise routine.


Mood Regulation

Listening to preferred music is known to be a positive  source of emotions for adults. It can be used to reduce anxiety, combat loneliness, and improve overall mood state. One can also assist in changing their mood by listening to music that “matches” their mood (e.g. sad, angry) and progressing to music that reflects a happier or calming mood state.


Dementia and Memory Loss

Music is strongly connected to life experiences. Playing music that relates to an individual’s history such as a favorite hymn, song they enjoyed dancing to, or a piece they played on their instrument can help to retrieve a cascade of long term memories and create a pleasurable and connected period of time with a loved one. Memory, mood, depression, and agitation are areas music has been shown to have a significant impact.


Parkinson’s Disease

The use of rhythmic cueing can help individuals with Parkinson’s initiate movement and continue consecutive movement, making walking steadier and decreasing shuffling gait patterns. Singing on a regular basis is able to increase breath support and assist with the motor aspects of speech.


I encourage you to take the initiative to increase music in your life in deliberate and meaningful ways.


Yvonne M. Glass, MM, MT-BC, is a board certified music therapist at TriStar Centennial Medical Center where she serves both patients in the Neuro ICU and adults and seniors with behavioral health issues. For more information call (615) 342-2470 or email yvonne.glass@hcahealthcare.com.

Dobson, C. (2017). Neurologic Music Therapy Group helps people with Parkinson’s Disease. American Parkinson’s Disease Association, online at www.apdaparkinson.org

Hanser, S.B., Butterfiled-Whitcomb, J., & Kawata, M. (2011).  Home based Music Strategies with Individuals who have Dementia and their Family Caregivers. Journal of Music Therapy. 48 (1): 2-27. Oxford Academic, UK.

Moore, K.S. (2013). A systematic review on the neural effects of music on emotional regulation: implications for music therapy practice. Journal of  Music Therapy. 50(3): 198-242.

Laukka, P. (2007). Uses of Music and psychological well-being among the elderly. Journal of Happiness Studies. 8 (215). Stockholm, Sweden.

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