Music Therapy

Liz Rummel, Not Sarah

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I am sure you have heard the phrase “music is food for the soul.”  Think about it for a minute.  What does this mean to you?  Indisputably, you listen to a certain song or group because you genuinely like them.  Furthermore, your song choice probably depicts what kind of mood you are in as well.  Am I right?  I know mine does, as well as what activity I am doing.  Even at the gym, I listen to a particular type of music to keep myself in the zone.  Sometimes, something as simple as a song can get you refocused, re-energized, and even bring you back to baseline.  Music is my own personal therapy, without the expensive hourly bill.

There are many wonderful aspects of music.  The first being that music comes in all different genres: country, alternative, jazz, classical, pop, rock and roll, reggae, techno, r & b, rap, punk rock, hip hop, and the list goes on.  There is not just one style that you are required to stick with and enjoy.  You are allowed to like multiple genres and many people do.  The second aspect is that music makes you feel something, one way or another.  It has the power to turn a stressful situation into a relaxing one, simply by the message it sends out and the way it is interpreted from the person listening to it.  There is a reason why you chose to listen to the music you do.  Perhaps, the words speak to you or the tempo/beat gives you just the right amount of desired energy.  Maybe you just like the singer’s voice.  Whatever the reason, it is influential enough to keep you listening.

Furthermore, with today’s technology, we now have the capabilities to listen to music anywhere we like now due to our personal cell phones and other digital devices such as iPads and iPods.  Apps such as Pandora, YouTube, and Apple Music allow us to hear a song with the tap of a finger.  It is amazing to see where technology has brought us, as far as music is concerned.  I am even more intrigued to see where it will go from here.

So what kind of music do you listen to, and why?  Some of your fellow Highland Community College classmates enlightened me with their reasoning.   Mandy Anderson, a sophomore at HCC says, “Mood is a great factor when considering which genre to listen to.  I listen to jazz or 1920’s swing when I’m on a date or at home with a glass of wine.”  Anderson continues by saying, “When I am sad, I listen to classic country because the message in the songs are more genuine than today’s country.  It helps to settle my nerves.”

HCC freshman, Roodson Pierre enjoys listening to American Pop music.  Jason Derulo is one of his favorites because he likes the way Derulo sings, along with Derulo’s style which is comparable to his own.  Pierre also likes Compas from Haiti, his native country.  He continues to explain that depending on what he is doing, depends on what he is listening to.  He says, “if I am working, I like to listen to Tonymix, a Haitian artist, because it is faster and keeps me focused and moving.

Another HCC Freshman, Jenel Moise, also from Haiti, says his favorite type of music is rap-Creole.  Moise explains that rap-Creole is a popular style of music that is played in a shanty town of Haiti.  “I like this music because it sings against poverty, injustice, and against the government when they are in the wrong path.”  When asked if he listens to different styles of music depending on his mood, Moise said “Of course! . . .Sometimes when anxiety invades me, I like listening to Compas.  It is a kind of Haitian style of music that is really soft.”  An example of this style is from one of Moise’s favorite Haitian bands called Nu Look.  Nu Look sings a song titled “What About Tomorrow“, which to Moise expresses enough feeling to relieve his anxiety.  To Moise, “music is inspiration. . . .”[It] is not a fact of enjoyment or a way of healing”, he says.  “As for me, I listen to music to find new direction.”

With the amount of personal struggles that I have dealt with lately, one of my favorite artists right now is Demi Lovato.  Her newest collection of artistic expression, captivates her own personal struggles.  Listening to some of her songs such as: “Stone Cold”, “Sorry Not Sorry”, and “Warrior”, have all helped me gain some perspective on things in my life.  Nearly anything by the Fugees, plus Christina Perri’s “Jar of Hearts”, Andra Day’s “Rise Up”, Beyonce’s “I Was Here”, Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down”, Tori Kelly’s “Hollow“, and Lecrae’s “I’ll Find You” featuring Tori Kelly are all on my daily playlist to get me through the day and take my mind off of everything else.  Not familiar with some of these songs?  Well, check them out and comment below your thoughts and opinions.  Then, leave the title of a song and artist that is on the top of your playlist right now and why the song speaks to you; why is it your “music therapy”.  I will gladly listen to it.

Music speaks to us in ways that cannot be expressed, so keep listening to music.  Keep feeding your soul with music; it is the fuel needed to endure this emotional roller coaster of life.


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Music Therapy