How Making Music Can Improve Your Health
Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash
Written by: Sabrina Sourjah
Date Updated: 6/8/2021
Reviewed by: Patrick D. Randolph, Ph.D.
When I was a kid, I remember a storefront that served local street food back home in Sri Lanka. The preparation of a popular dish there involved mixing small pieces of crepe with carrots, onions, cabbage, and chicken curry with two large spatulas.
When the spatulas hit the metal surface that held the ingredients, the cook created a local tune with his utensils. Sometimes, the cook also created a new rhythm of his own while the delicacy came to life.
This was my introduction to different ways of making music. The cook became a musician for a moment.
Making music does not only happen in the recording studio or a composer’s study. Making music is not limited to original tracks that one creates. We are constantly making music without instruments, sometimes using our bodies, clapping, and tapping.
Music is the soundtrack of your life
— Dick Clark, radio and television personality
What Happens When You Create Music?
When you make music, you are awakening your soul. You’re not sure how well the guitar will strum or if you can land on the pitch on your first attempt. But you try anyway. You’re learning to take risks that are fun and enjoyable.
Your curiosity is at its peak when you’re creating rhythms. Music introduces an element of play to our routine lives. Play keeps us alive and our brains functioning effectively.
How Do People Make Music?
- Music is vibration, and there are many ways of making music in our everyday lives.
- Playing an instrument or learning to play an instrument
- Singing Karaoke alone or with friends
- Humming in the shower
- Tapping on a wooden floor for fun
- Rhythmically clapping or counting aloud during workouts
Benefits of Making Music
Making music matters not only because it’s an enjoyable activity but also because there are significant benefits to our health and wellbeing.
1. Overall Health
Music is proven to lower blood pressure and improve the quality of sleep. Your arteries, heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes can be adversely impacted by high blood pressure. Quality of sleep positively impacts our physical health, mental health, surgery outcomes, longevity, and life satisfaction.
2. Surgery Outcomes
Researchers have found that playing music improves the immune system. Improved immunity is critical to recovering after surgery and repairing surgical wounds. Music will also boost the patient’s mood, so they have a better outlook on their recovery.
3. Mental Health
Studies show that music improves anxiety, stress symptoms, depression, mood swings, and memory. Making music is a creative endeavor even if we are not expert musicians, and creativity has been confirmed to lessen depression, stress, and anxiety.
Research has asserted that creativity decreases mortality risk. In this study, intelligence and overall openness were also observed as predictors of mortality risk. But only creativity impacted longevity. So, the creative act of making music alone or in a group can give you a longer lifespan.
5. Life Satisfaction
Anyone who has sung in a choir or played an instrument at a party knows the power of music in getting people together. One who has played in a band knows the level of coordination that’s needed to create wonderful harmonies. This sense of community and belonging strengthens our connections and increases our fulfillment and life satisfaction.
Creating music can also keep you in a flow state longer. Flow states can increase engagement, motivation, emotional regulation, performance, and skill development. This can ultimately lead to more fulfillment.
Making music can be fun. But if you’re not feeling adventurous and don’t want to make music right away, even merely listening to your favorite music can provide you with many health benefits.