Music, Medication and Manners

Just the other day, I was talkng to my 17-year-old about a certain CD we listened to when he was about four.  Although he couldn't remember the exact tune, he remembered how it made him feel.  Exuberant.  Triumphant.  Energized.  He would gallop through the house with great gusto, working himself into a near frenetic state.  He would want me to play it over and over again, until he exhausted himself (not an easy feat in those days)!  I smile just picturing the scene in my head.

Music, Medication
Music changes our emotional states.  It's undeniable.  It's backed by research.  Ask any teen how important music is and they will tell you, but you may have to motion to them to remove their earbuds or headphones first.  Ask a researcher and they will tell you that music can take the place of medication, in some instances.  It's amazing I know, but true, nevertheless.  That's pretty powerful stuff.  Melodies replacing pharmaceuticals?  Oh, yes!

This was reaffirmed by a young teen I talked with in my office recently.  He told me that uses music to help him get rid of anger, sadness and more...or to put himself in a good mood.  Have you ever stood outside of a hockey or football locker-room prior to a game?  Chances are you heard some pumped up music playing to get the adrenaline pumping.  The teens and athletes probably don't care too much about what the research says, they just know how it makes them feel.

Music = Manners?
Music can convey life-stories and lessons in a way that is meaningful and memorable.  Almost everything is easier to learn when tied to music.   But can it be used to help kids become better people?  You bet it can!  Just like music can be used to teach math facts, spelling words and the like, it can also be used to teach kids better social-emotional skills.  That translates into a better ability to manage interpersonal relationships, handle conflict and more.  Yes, music can even help with manners!

Musical Resources

Here are some GREAT music resources that specifically help promote social-emotional development:

Name Your Tune CDs

The Music of Rachel Rambach

The Music of Cheryl Melody

The Music and Books of Ava Parnass

Article on

Take a Pill...or Just Listen to Some Music: The Magic of Music in Therapy and Life

What role does music play in your life?  Do you jog or relax with an iPod or MP3?  Do you use music with your kids?  Do you notice it changing their moods?  Do you use music to help teach your kids new skills?  We'd love to hear about it!


naomi said…
My kids and I use music to get rid of excess energy, to cheer ourselves up and also to relax depending on what is needed. Music is amazing to get your children into as it can channel their feelings and it can help them express themselves too.

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