In December of 1992, David Ott’s father was dying of cancer. On Christmas Eve morning he went into a coma. The family gathered in the small hospital room knowing that their beloved husband and father would not be with them long. Since it was Christmas Eve, carolers were going through the hospital quietly singing. As they walked past the room singing “Silent Night”, a single tear fell across the comatose man’s cheek. His family stated that after seeing him just lay there all day without moving, that the single tear was his way of telling them goodbye. Ott stated that “music can go where words cannot” (Griffen). Research shows that music is to the brain as physical exercise is to the human body. Some form of exercise is necessary for a healthy body. People know what to do to tone their body but do they exercise their minds regularly and properly? Do they know that listening to Mozart can help increase their memory? Music has a greater impact on human lives than we think; it assists in releasing or creating strong emotions, strengthens the brain increasing the ability to learn, and has the power to heal.
Music has a larger affect on feelings and emotions than most people realize. It is an automatic response for the human body to react to music in certain ways. Miller explains that “By the age of five, almost all healthy children have developed an unconscious framework for listening that will form the basis of their emotional response to music.” Sometimes the emotion that the music brings is very noticeable. For example, if someone is attempting to recover after the death of a loved one and they hear a song that reminds them of that person it can create different emotions quickly. The song could make that person remember the good times that they had together and make them happy or it could make them extremely sad.
Depression is a very common disease among people today. While there are medications that can be taken to help relieve depression, it may not be the best option. Medication does not always work for everyone. One thing that can cure depression is music. The greatest things about music is that to “take advantage of music's healing power, you don't need to take a prescription to your local music store” (Harrar). There is not a specific song that can be “prescribed” to help relieve depression. Music that creates happy memories and positive emotions is what are needed, which means the music used will be different depending on the person.
Stress and anxiety are also very common emotions that can easily be relieved through music. In a study at the University of Limerick, pregnant women listened to, or were taught lullabies that had a tempo between 60 and 80 beats per measure. The purpose of this exercise was to help relieve stress since “medical treatment is not always suitable because of concerns that taking medication may harm the baby” (Hayes). The purpose of the slow tempo is to help calm the mind. One woman who participated stated...