THE EFFECTS OF MUSIC IN COPING WITH PAST TRAUMA
Music is a great outlet that allows people to cope with their past traumas. There are certain instances when there are no words to describe the emotional rollercoaster people are enduring, but there is always a song that can express any feeling. It can feel as though the song was written for a specific moment and various emotions.
There is a study where the effects of music in coping with past trauma were examined on children (ages 8 to 11) who survived a tornado accident in the United States. The kids were instructed to create a list of songs that described their emotions. The music they chose was proven to speed along their healing process, making the prospect of returning to school more feasible.
Another experiment done to test the effects of music was done where people were instructed to write their own songs after surviving the Black Saturday bushfires. After writing the songs, they were told to sing these songs in front of other people. By doing so, all these people who survived the same horrific incident were sharing the burden of their trauma. Hearing each other sing their shared emotions created a bond between all the survivors. The lyrics of each survivor’s songs felt personal to each survivor in the room.
Songwriting is still very healing even if one does not share his or her songs. For many people, writing song lyrics is much more comfortable than speaking about their experiences. People can feel comfortable in writing to no one, and it resembles the concept of keeping a journal or diary. It is a private space safe for true self-expression. Songwriting can be a haven where a survivor can interpret and learn to accept their trauma and connect to themselves.
Music significantly affects people. Listening to music and writing your own lyrics have been seen as helpful ways to cope with past traumas. Listening and writing words that paint a picture that resembles one’s emotions is a beautiful ability humans have.
Davis, Keith M. “Music and the Expressive Arts With Children Experiencing Trauma.” Creativity in Mental Health, vol. 5, no. 2, 2010, pp. 125-133. Taylor and Francis Online.
Mcferran, Katrina. “Music Therapy with Young People in Schools: After the Black Saturday Fires.” Perspectives on Practice, vol. 11, no. 1, 2011. Voices.
Fraga, Juli. “How Making Music Can Help Students Cope with Trauma.” KQED, Mind Shift, 15 July 2019.