I'm sure you can remember growing up: the profound impact that the music you listened to had on your life. If you're anything like me, the songs you heard on the radio, sung with your friends, or bought the records/CD's/cassettes of shaped your development as a young person.
Well, in the realms of both education and personal development, music coaching and music therapy stand out as unique and powerful tools. Using music as a platform for identity, community, and connection helps to bridge the gap between artistic expression and wellness, offering benefits to students, adults, and children alike.
In this blog post, I want to take you through the journey of writing, recording and releasing my original song "Be Brave" as an example of how music - and songwriting in particular - used as a tool for self development, can facilitate growth and learning in various aspects of life, no matter how old we are.
Music and Songwriting in Education
Whilst music in schools and educational programs is often thought of as unnecessary, or even odious: integrating musical expression and lyric writing into the syllabus can significantly aid students in their learning processes. It's not just about creating music; it's about using music as a medium for expression and learning from experiences.
To take it even one step further, when we incorporate music and lyric writing into lesson plans: students are far more likely to remember key information and takeaways. Think of the alphabet, as an example. Even as an adult: it's likely that you sing the alphabet in order to remember which letter comes where. It's the same for the plethora of other songs we used to sing in kindergarten. When listening to music, the hippocampus part of the brain [which is in part responsible for our memories in relation music] lights up, helping us to retain information related to that song.
In other words: music helps us remember.
So, as teens and adults continuing our education: wouldn't it also make sense to use music as a tool to help us retain information?
Actionable Tip: Educators and students can collaborate on writing a song about a historical event or a scientific concept. This exercise enhances learning and makes education more engaging.
Music Therapy for Facing Adversity
Adolescents and adults alike often face unique challenges, and music therapy offers a way for them to express and process their emotions.
I often tell my YES Youth Coaching clients: the act of writing a song forces us to not just identify key triggers and struggles within our overwhelm, but narrow our focus down to one trigger or struggle at a time.
Once we've allowed ourselves the space to focus on ONE key issue: we can simplify it, take time to understand it, then give ourselves permission to take a step back, and cognitively reframe how we're thinking about the issue.
Which is exactly what I did through my song "Be Brave": a song [and story] of adapting to a new environment, and how I had the opportunity to choose whether I wanted to lean into the fear, and embrace my courage and bravery.
Actionable Tip: Encourage your team [adolescents and adults alike] to write a song or a poem about the challenges they face. This form of expression can be a powerful tool for emotional wellness.
Music Therapy in the Workplace and Community Programs
In the professional world and in the broader community, music therapy can significantly enhance productivity and wellness. Whether in the workplace or community settings: when we listen to the right soundtrack, we can be stimulated on an emotional level [nucleus accumbens and amygdala], mental level [through our prefrontal cortex, cerebellum, and the motor cortex] and a community level [through the hippocampus]. In other words: the right soundtrack, company theme song, or music being played in the office can help enhance employee happiness [and productivity], a sense of community [and improved teamwork], and mental health.
Everyone in the office can benefit from the creative and therapeutic aspects of music.
Actionable Tip: Incorporate music into your workplace, community center or school setting. Better yet: when you involve a collaborative component to the music being played or created [whether a collaboratively developed playlist, or a theme song written by, for and about your employees or students] music can be a great way to boost morale and foster team spirit.
Music Therapy and Coaching for Personal Development
Music therapy and coaching is not just for students and professionals; it's for everyone. Musicians and non-musicians alike can use music as a means of personal expression and growth.
If we're to simplify this and just talk about the impact of listening to music: something that everyone does, there have been multiple studies and articles written about the impact that music has on our every day lives.
But when we take this one step further, and employ my personal favorite approach to music therapy and coaching practices, and that's: empowerment through songwriting: we're able to amplify the positive effects that music can have on our lives by empowering us to literally rewrite the messages we both tell ourselves, and sing to ourselves.
And with the right coach: that can be incredibly effective at cognitively reframing negative thought patterns, disempowering feelings, and uncomfortable emotions into ideas and expressions that empower and uplift us.
Actionable Tip: Consider finding a music therapist or coach to explore, understand, and work through your personal issues using creative expression.
Music Therapy and Coaching Resources
For those of you who have found traditional therapy or coaching doesn't quite work for you, or if you're looking to elevate the effectiveness of your existing therapy, there are numerous resources available.
But the biggest resource is you. Your stories. Your feelings. Your experiences.
Once you allow yourself the ability to fully embrace those parts of yourself, the rest is up to you and your therapist or coach. If you're interested in learning more about how songwriting can be the tool that helps you to identify, simplify, understand, work through and overcome your triggers: I'd love to hop on a call with you to explore whether empowerment through songwriting might be the thing for you.
Music therapy is a versatile and powerful tool that can aid in education, personal growth, and community wellness. The story of "Be Brave" is just one example of how music can be a transformative force in our lives.
Visit EmmaGmusic.com to find more information about the Empowerment through Music programs that I offer, as well as a number of resources and tips for incorporating music into your life for wellness and growth.
Or - better yet - CLICK HERE to schedule a free breakthrough call with me to find out more about how music and songwriting can facilitate you in your educational journey, personal growth, or organizational environment.
I look forward to speaking with you soon!
~ Emma G