Choose Music for Self-Care

Choose Music for Self-Care

Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MS/LIS
Posted February 26, 2017

Why Choose Music for Self-Care?

Historically, music plays a central role in human development. Scientists believe that people may have started to sing as soon as language developed.

Hunting tools may have been the first musical instruments. By about 10,000 B.C., people had discovered how to make flutes out of hollow bones. The first written music dates from about 2500 B.C.

Many ancient cultures, including the Chinese and Egyptians, used music in religious ceremonies. The Greeks used instrumental and vocal music in athletic games and in dramatic performances.

Musicians and musical instruments appear in many ancient works of art. For example, the kithara, an instrument of the lyre family, was an important stringed instrument of Greece. The Greeks believed that music played on the kithara had a healthful calming effect on listeners.

Today, you may choose to use certain kinds of music in your everyday life to experience calm and relief from stress. For example, you can learn to think of music as a helper in specific situations. All you need is willingness. You do not need to know how to play a musical instrument or even how to carry a tune.

Ten Ways to Choose Music for Everyday Self-Care

  • Attend a concert or musical program in your local community.
  • Introduce children to music from your childhood.
  • Listen to relaxing music for restful sleep.
  • Listen to music that helps you to cry when grieving.
  • Listen to music that brightens your mood and gives you hope in life.
  • Sample types of music with CDs, tapes, or records from your public library.
  • Serenade your partner with love songs.
  • Sing lullabies to your children.
  • Sing or dance along together for friendship.
  • Sing while cooking or cleaning or gardening.

For more information about how you might use music in your everyday living, see the Selected Information Resources following this blog post.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

Selected Information Resources

Cunico, Evelyn. Choir Singing and Health. CHIME Consumer Health: Consumer Health Information Made Easy.
Posted December 23, 2014.
Summary Note: Selected list of physical, social, and emotional health benefits of choir singing. Selected References include links to clinical trial studies providing evidence that choir singing affects heart rate, blood pressure, and mood.
(Accessed 19 February 2017)

Hemingway, Colette. The Kithara in Ancient Greece. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. October 2002.
Summary Note: Relying on ancient artwork, author describes the kithara and the bodily position of the musician while playing the instrument. Author explains that by the end of the Seventh Century, B.C., the kithara played a major role in Greek public performances.
(Accessed 26 February 2017)

National Institutes of Health. Strike a Chord for Health. Music Matters for Body and Mind. NIH News in Health. January 2010.
Summary Note: Lists everyday Musical Activities, such as singing or dancing, that are healthy for body and mind. Neuroscientists discuss brain imaging techniques showing that music activates brain regions that have implications for treatment of patients with autism, depression, dementia, heart disease, or stroke.
(Accessed 19 February 2017)

National Institutes of Health. More than a Feeling. How the Arts Affect Your Health. NIH News in Health. June 2008.
Summary Note: Suggests particular Arts, such as dance classes, drawing, listening to music, or writing to reduce stress and improve quality of life.
(Accessed 19 February 2017)

Nemours Foundation. Kids Health. Music and Your School Aged Child. Reasons to Love Music.
Summary Note: Presents ideas on how parents can fill their child’s life with regular singing and music playing for fun and for mental and social development.
(Accessed 19 February 2017)

Ruud, Even, Professor. Can Music Serve as a Cultural Immunogen? An Explorative Study. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being. 2013 August 7; 8:20597.
Summary Note: Six narratives (personal stories) comprise interviews with persons who share how they used their own memories of music as a way to immunize (protect) their health. Author discusses how music can serve a range of everyday needs, such as feelings of well-being or alertness or relaxation.
(Full Text accessed 19 February 2017)

The World Book Encyclopedia. Chicago: World Book, Inc., 2015. Vol. 4 Entry: Classical Music History and Vol.13 Entry: Music. Print edition.
Summary Note: Illustrated general encyclopedia with authoritative information written in plain language. Music entries trace history from Antiquity (before 500 A.D.) through today.
(Accessed 19 February 2017)