Using Music to Support Uncomfortable Transitions

Back to School. Students. Music Therapy. Academic. Learning. Growth. Children. Youth. Teens. Online. Telehealth. Virtual Sessions.

Music for the Heart

For students, parents, or extended family with loved ones involved with the school system, the changes of the fall season can bring up a lot of feelings. This time of year traditionally brings shifts in routine, with the start of new projects, and the close of summertime recharging, resting, relaxing bliss.

For September 2020, we have the additional considerations of implementing new health and safety systems. With this new territory, we are navigating feelings of fear and uncertainty around how this school season is going to unfold. It has been challenging and will continue to be difficult for many. 

In my life, I identified first as a music lover, and now also as a Certified Music Therapist, which means I often turn to music when I am feeling unsettled. Especially when the reason for the uneasiness is due to external changes in my environment that I have no control over.  

You may wonder why music supports decreasing stress, anxiety, and sadness… Research shows that music experiences can:

  • Reduce Depressive Symptoms: by increasing low levels of serotonin. The neurotransmitter serotonin is released when listening to music and involves regulation of mood and sleep, as well memory and learning skills.
  • Promote Relationship Connections: because oxytocin is released when experiencing music in community with others. The neurotransmitter oxytocin is known as the “bonding hormone” and involves increased connection, trust, and empathy between people.
  • Provide Joy & Inspiration: Have you ever experienced goosebumps, chills while listening to music?  This is our friend dopamine, the pleasure, reward-motivator hormone. 

In practice when I am listening to music, I am aware of how the music is impacting me at an emotional level… calming, energized, in faith, powerful, flowing.  When I listen and experience this feeling, I add this song to a Spotify playlist in my music library.  You may use an alternative music library platform, or make a list of healing songs in a journal or note app on your phone. Keep these songs immediately accessible for when your heart needs some comfort, as I do. Music validates my fears and redirects me to my desired feeling states.  

Music can heal the wounds which medicine cannot touch – Debasish Mridha


Music for the Brain

Within an academic setting, research shows that when music is integrated it promotes communication, social, memory and cognitive skills.  There is also evidence to indicate that music can support learning within stressful academic contexts such as tests. 

Today, student’s mental health and learning needs are vast and continue to grow, often making it difficult for individual teachers to fully manage everyone’s needs on their own. Within a therapeutic context, music therapy is often a fun form of therapy for students as they have the opportunity to freely play, explore, create, and discover through music – all while achieving therapeutic and clinical impact.  An individually designed music therapy program can support students through the following domains: 

Mental – music therapy can promote sensory integration, increase attention space, and facilitate learning of academic concepts

Social – music therapy can develop both verbal and non-verbal communication, self expression and promote social interaction and group cohesion 

Emotional – music therapy can increase positive affect, promote behavioural skills, and improve confidence and self-esteem

Physical – music therapy can improve gross and fine motor skills, balance, mobility, coordination and control of movement

Spiritual – music therapy helps provide connection to identity, self esteem, confidence, belief and values systems

Sessions take place in the comfort of the student’s home.  For families, parents can receive respite, prepare dinner, or run errands while the session takes place.  Another common context is music therapy during school hours. We connect with the school to find an optimal time to integrate music therapy into your child’s academic/ learning schedule. Most recently, Find Your Voice Music Therapy also offers online music therapy sessions. 

Music and music therapy integrated within an academic setting provide important tools for mental health, personal growth and development.  If you have any questions on how to integrate music therapy within a school, home or online setting please connect with us.  Through a complimentary consultation we would be pleased to answer any questions you have! 

In song,

Mackenzie <3
Owner & Founder of Find Your Voice Music Therapy
Certified Music Therapist & Registered Counselling Therapist
1-800-827-3120 ext. 101
[email protected]