Music therapist Kat is sat playing an electric keyboard and next to her is Bevin playing an acoustic guitar.

Ways music can enrich lives – music, mental health and wellbeing

We believe in the power of music to connect with the human potential that lies within us all, including those living with profound disability, illness and exclusion.

Music, mental health and wellbeing

Music can have such a positive impact on mental health. It can help reduce stress, manage pain, help us sleep better, improve motivation, improve our mood and help reduce symptoms of depression. 

According to Mind, researchers found that music releases dopamine, the feel-good chemical in your brain. It also found that this feel-good chemical goes up 9% when listening to music you enjoy. Powerful stuff.

Below is a small musical guide of tips and advice for using music to help your mental health and wellbeing.

Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy and mental health

At Nordoff Robbins, we believe in the power of music. We believe in music and music therapy’s ability to reach even the most vulnerable people in our society. Mental health problems can be very isolating, affecting a person’s personality, thought processes, and their ability to express themselves. Music and music therapy can have a positive impact, offering a non-verbal means of communication, working on emotional, physical and social difficulties.

Ideas on using music to support your mental health and wellbeing

Singing

Singing can help people on the autism spectrum communicate and express themselves. Here are some of our ideas to get involved with singing:

  • Join an online choir – Nordoff Robbins fully inclusive choir happens every Tuesday at 4pm. It doesn’t have to be this choir though, you get involved with anyone you want to. 
  • Singalong with one of our music therapists – we’ve created Singalongs in a variety of genres of songs. These are great whether at home with family or even in a school setting.
  • On Stage at Home with Clangers – These are fun, short songs, using objects from around the home where Nordoff Robbins music therapists and the Clangers show young children that you don’t need instruments to make music.

BandLab

BandLab is a music creation platform on the internet that lets anyone make music, adding in guitar riffs, drums, piano and more, in whichever way you like. 

Whether you’re just beginning or a pro at making music, BandLab is a great way to get involved whilst having a lot of fun. 

It’s free to use. Simply set up an account and get going, you can even make music with your friends too.

Playing an instrument

Learning to play a musical instrument has been shown to help people communicate and express themselves. At Nordoff Robbins we believe that learning a musical skill can help provide a meaningful and focused creative activity to help people develop both musically and personally.  

But we know that not everyone will have access to an instrument. If not, speak to a local music teacher, a local school or you can even check out our Accessible Musical Learning sessions.

Songwriting

Writing a song can sound quite daunting to start with, we’re here to tell you it isn’t. It’s a great way to express yourself, write down your emotions and tell your own story. 

We’ve created a great blog called Eight songwriting tips from a music therapist which you can find here, but here’s a snapshot of what you’ll find.

  1. Listen – A great way to approach writing your own song is to take a song you love and really listen to it. 
  2. Experiment – If starting from nothing feels too daunting, why not try writing some new lyrics to a tune you know well
  3. Make it personal – When it comes to writing lyrics, try to write about your own authentic experiences and feelings.
  4. Keep it simple – Some of the very best songs are written using only a handful of chords.
  5. Give it a go – you don’t need to be an expert to try writing your own songs. 

Playlists

Playlists are a great way to tailor songs to your mood, whether you need to destress, relax or get hyped up for some exercise. 

You’ll be able to create these on whatever streaming platform you use. Our music therapists have created several playlists if you need some inspiration.

  • Create sense of calm playlist 
  • Send me to sleep playlist 
  • Lift my spirits playlist 
  • Get me running playlist

Other support available

We know music has a lot of benefits, but if you’re struggling with your mental health there are lots of places you can turn to. Here are just some of our recommendations: