Music therapy

Entertainment, art... or medicine?

What is music? Where does it originate from and what is its role in our lives? How does it affect us? There is a wide range of questions about music, yet there is only one answer – MUSIC IS A GIFT.

A gift that provides us with inexhaustible strength, energy and possibilities, of which, unfortunately, we are not fully aware.

It is common knowledge that music exists since the beginning of time. Whether we believe that the world was created by the big bang in space, or we are inclined to religious beliefs that God created it and that ‘In the beginning was the word’, few have taken into account that both the bang and the word are sound phenomena.

For millenniums, music was an important factor in people’s lives – it helped them during hunting, thereby participating in survival. It called out for partners, sent men off to war, summoned rain and chased away spirits. It is a prayer in us, a source of energy and a driving force; an oasis of peace and security. From the first cry of a newborn, through the sorrow and celebration that life brings, until the last breath is drawn… Music is a part of us and we are a part of music. But, in what way does it affect us and are we fully aware of its influence on us?

Whether we like it or not, we are often exposed to listening to music and its effect on our mental and physical state. The sounds we receive through our sense of hearing reach our brain, which processes them as information and transforms them into emotions and energy. It’s no wonder that music with a faster tempo and more expressive rhythm moves us, while a slower and gentler melody soothes us.

Our body works in rhythmic aspects, starting with the heartbeat and breathing, as two actions necessary for life, all the way to movement and other motor actions that we perform every day. As a powerful trigger of emotions, it awakens our memories, but also builds new desires.

The choice of music we listen to or perform says a lot about our needs, lifestyle and personality. Studying the history of music, it can be concluded that composers created art that was a mirror of themselves and their lives, needs and what they strived for. By composing, they treated their own problems, turning them into notes, although they were mostly unaware of it. Taking all this into account, music from different eras and by various composers affects us and our loved ones differently, and it helps treat various diseases:

Reducing blood pressure

Classical baroque music, with its rhythm and consonance, tells our body to relax and our mind to stay awake. It relaxes the pulsation of the heart thus reducing blood pressure. Compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi are recommended.


As a neurological disorder that occurs due to the inadequate signalling of the nerve cells in the brain, the treatment of epilepsy with music has a very positive effect.  Mozart’s music exudes harmony and brilliance, which provides our brain with clarity and adequacy of sound signals. One example is the Piano Sonata in D major K. 448.


In addition to listening to music, performing achieves even greater results in treatment. Developing the bronchi can be achieved by playing a wind instrument or singing, whereby the specific way of breathing strengthens the abdominal muscles which enables taking deeper breaths and helps with more efficient breathing.  Hospitals around the world offer singing lessons to lung patients.  However, if you are more inclined to listening to music, then the compositions of Johannes Brahms are recommended.


Diabetes is a chronic disease that causes many damages to the body. Mikhail Glinka’s compositions please diabetics, and if this disease is associated with heart failure, it is recommended to listen to Grieg’s compositions.


Music that acted as a revival throughout the history of music has a positive effect on the autonomic nervous system and neurological diseases such as migraines.  We are talking about the works of the Italian composer Verdi.  During a migraine attack, try to indulge in compositions such as Aida, Nabucco or Rigoletto.It is certain that the adequate choice of music has a positive effect on us and our body. Allow yourself to become aware of this gift and apply it in your life. 

Written by (author):

Srna Ristić,

Graduated art theoretician (music pedagogue) at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad.