Music and Mental Illness

By Ally Kongshaug 7th hour

Media Influences on Music and Mental Illness

1. The Soloist, by Steve Lopez, was written when Lopez was walking down the street and found a schizophrenic homeless man playing his violin. His name was Nathaniel Ayers and with the help of the musicians and staff of the Los Angeles Philharmonic to help he had success. (1)

2. Agnes's Jacket: A Psychologist's Search for the Meanings of Madness, by Gail Hornstein, was written when she discovered a patient at a mental hospital that had made a coat with hospital uniforms and embroidered with largely indecipherable words and phrases.(2)

3. Hearing Voices, by jocelyn Pook, is a song that was inspired by Agnes's jacket. (2)

(original) Man In Nursing Home Reacts To Hearing Music From His Era

Interpersonal Communications of Music and Mental Illness

First of all, if you think you have a mental disorder you should talk to your parents or doctor, depending on your age, and they will be able to give you further information. When you have been diagnosed and put on medication, give it time to start working. If it doesn't work, it may be time to get a therapist, if you don't already have one. Once you start to feel more like your self again, you can start to experiment with different ways of controlling that artistic side of yourself. Whether it's writing a book or play. For some people, listening to certain types of music is helpful. In certain studies, it was said that jazz was one of the most soothing types of music out there, but it may not be the right type for you.

Positive and Negative Effects of Music and Mental Illness

Positive Effects:

~ Music is a medicine for the mentally ill. (source 4)

~ They are generally more accepted throughout society because they are very creative. (source 6)

~ Music is most helpful for teens and children dealing with a mental illness. (source 8)

~ Music is calming, relaxing, and intellectually stimulating. (source 8)

Negative Effects:

~ It can reveal a dark side in the person that is composing the piece of music. (source 4)

~ Composers have major perfection issues when writing their music. (source 5)

~ It's hard for them to accept us because we are not as creative as them. (source 6)

~ Music will sometimes affect the emotions of a composer, causing their music to jump around and have various tempos and rhythms. (source 8)

Advances for Music and the Mentally Ill

One advancement is researchers have found that if a hip-hop song has irregular beats it can mess with there heart beat and give them bad headaches/migraines. For example, if someone with a diagnosed illness is listening to rap music that has regular music mixed in with it will cause them to get really upset and angry.

Another advancement is that researchers have discovered that it can be a psychological stimulus in a hospital environment. For example, when you walk into nursing homes that are like hospitals you tend to hear music playing in the individual's room or sometimes in the hallway. They play music to try to get the elderly to participate in certain activities throughout the day.