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Explains the effects of music and music therapy on those with anxiety and ADHD.


elliecaroline05 1 / -  
Sep 9, 2023   #1

The Power of a Single Note



Elizabeth Maneely
English 102
Professor Korman

Statistics show that, across America, one in five people suffer from diagnosed mental illnesses with symptoms showing as early as age fourteen. Anxiety disorders are at the top of the charts, burdening the lives of over 42 million Americans (The Zebra). Moreover, nearly 82 million Americans are subscribers of music streaming services, and on average, one listens to an average of 75 minutes of music per day (Musical Pursuits). There is no doubt that prescribed treatments, such as pharmaceuticals or emotional therapy, have been offered to Americans, yet factors vary and access is surely limited. Patients deserve a treatment accessible from all locations, affordable by all means, and effective to every condition. However, there is a reliable, affordable and effective type of medication which proves consistent and constructive results. Music, with its soothing sounds and harmonies, can serve as more than just entertainment, and can be used as a healing therapy for common mental illnesses, such as anxiety and ADHD.

Multiple sources establish a clear relationship between music and the brain's ability to think quickly and effectively. Studies have shown classical music increases our spatial reasoning in the brain and "primes" our brain for critical thinking. Without music, our brain lacks the ability to think widely and creatively, especially at a young age. The Jed Foundation uses the research of Bethany Cook, a psychologist and music therapist, to prove the profound effects which music has on the brain. She discusses the rate at which our brain matures with the power of music, and how music allows our brain to become more in-tune with our emotional center and with our body; no pun intended. The article briefly mentions how music can build a stronger connection between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, a topic discussed more in depth by Diane Bales in an article written by the University of Georgia. Listening to music, especially from a young age, can create a stronger connection between our brain neurons. "The classical music pathways in our brain are similar to the pathways we use for spatial reasoning. When we listen to classical music, the spatial pathways are "turned on" and ready to be used"(Bales). While creating a stronger connection in the brain, it drastically improves spatial awareness; studies show that after listening to classical music, adults can perform puzzles quicker, and children who take instrument lessons can perform puzzles up to 30% quicker. Our brains mature at a faster rate with the effects of music, and allow us to access our emotional centers at an early age. Although the article written by Diane Bales has no relation to the issue of mental illness, it is important to note how music can strengthen our minds and allow for stronger connections.

With nearly 6 million children struggling with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, affordable and effective treatment can be difficult to find and adapt. Kids diagnosed with ADHD bear the struggle of not focusing on one task for long periods of time, while also forgetting their future tasks. Studies show that, in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, music creates longer focus and builds better attention spans. "Research shows that pleasurable music increases dopamine levels in the brain. This neurotransmitter - responsible for regulating attention, working memory, and motivation - is in low supply in ADHD brains" (Rodgers). Music can help keep the brain on track and create a schedule though words and harmonies which helps kids focus throughout the day. Oliver Sacks, a neurologist and author, stated that "nothing activates the brain so extensively as music"(ADDitude). Music is based on rhythm and structure, both of which children with ADHD struggle with. Listening to music also increases dopamine levels in the brain which, in turn, regulate attention, memory and motivation in the brain."Hearing songs of varying rhythms can slow down or speed up your child's mental and physical processes"(Rodgers). Despite the strong points in the argument, there is no doubt that music will overwhelm and distract some kids from the task at hand. All kids and all diagnoses are different, and one sort therapy will most definitely not cure all.

ADHD and anxiety, which cripples thousands of Americans daily, can be treated with the soothing harmonies in music which are grounded in rhythm and structure, and can calm the mind and settle the brain. Research shows that those who listen to calming music are better able to manage their stress and have a better control over their anxious thoughts and feelings . Anxiety is not an easy feat, nor should one have to bear this mental illness without some sort of treatment. "Simply listening to music can decrease your blood pressure, lower your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and reduce your heart rate"(Brennan). Emotions, such as stress, anger, and overwhelming loneliness tend to take center stage in the mind. Anxiety is built upon those emotions and forces the brain to believe this is what one is meant for, and this is how one should constantly feel. When one listens to music with powerfully affirming lyrics and harmonies, it allows the mind to realize the motivation and successes we have in life. Listening with a purpose is a way to redirect stressful thoughts or feelings, while matching music with your mood allows you to clearly understand emotions (Michigan Medicine). When the mind is able to understand why we feel the way we do, it can help counteract negativity and create an assuring and supportive environment for the inner self to flourish.

Despite the most common treatments being pharmaceuticals such as amphetamine and serotonin inhibitors, therapy is a rising treatment used to combat anxiety and ADHD. Music therapy is a primary example of the profoundly soothing effects which music can have on our brains, especially those struggling with mental illness. Studies show that those who listen to music are able to overcome stress and past trauma at a quicker rate. "Listening to music that does not have lyrics attached to it lets the listener project their personal feelings and their personal struggle into the music"(Frost). Listening to music can further allow one to see how they truly struggle, and moreover, how they truly need to better themselves.An intriguing source published by the University of Michigan describes the way their music therapists at U-M Rogel Cancer Center use music to heal the inner pain of the patients, families, and caregivers. Bob Huffman, one of the musicians, states that music "It brings up memories. It takes us back to places and times that we remember fondly. And it's healing in that way. Music has a way to let us express our feelings and emotions where sometimes words fall short"(Michigan Medicine). On the other hand, they offer tips on using music to heal your mental calamities. Those struggling with grief and depression are able to overcome their heavy feelings by listening to music with comforting lyrics and harmonies, which creates peace in the mind. "The researchers found that the people who listened to music recovered faster from the stress of [an] experience faster than those who didn't"(Frost). Music therapy can save delicate minds who experience emotional trauma, and moreover, music therapy can help a patient with both physical and mental ailments, and help accomplish the patient's goals for themselves. "Music therapy can help people manage physical pain and has proven effective in treating a variety of health conditions, including cardiac complications, cancer, diabetes, and dementia"(Psychology Today). Music has a hold on the brain stronger than any medication, and continues to add to treatment around the world. From grief and depression to anxiety and overwhelming emotions, music allows our brain and inner self to realize who we are and who we deserve to be. Helping and healing others through music is a noble cause and the world deserves to know the power of a single note.

I wish that every reader will understand two main concepts in this paper; 1. The reality of mental illnesses, such as anxiety, and 2. The hold music has over the human brain. I truly believe music is a form of medicine, maybe not the strongest, but surely an effective one. I understand why one might be reluctant to believe a single song can change someone's life, and how music can influence the way we think from an extremely young age. Studies show music is more than entertainment and pleasure. It allows us to see our truest emotions, from anger, depression and anxiety, to pure peace and bliss. Music is life, and without music, we are left searching our mind and body for joy and validation. I hope those who struggle with anxiety know there are alternatives to pharmaceuticals and traditional therapy, and simple things in life can serve as our healing. I feel gratified presenting an argument which means so much to me and my own mental health, and I hope to persuade the readers to see the power of a single note.

Works Cited
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 15036 4827  
Sep 25, 2023   #2
The section marked as number 2 in this presentation should be brought up to the top of the research presentation. It should be used as the thesis statement because the presentation currently lacks that important paragraph. You cannot open a paper with in-text citations immediately. All quotes and other person information references should be saved for the 2nd paragraph onwards.

It would also be better if you do not constantly cite other sources in the sections as the paper comes across as badly written, relying only on a cut and paste research method instead of the writer providing an insightful and personal feedback on the information he came across while writing the paper. Try to add more analysis rather than just information citation in the presentation.


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