• Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Using music to fight depression?

    Will listening to music help combat depression? According to a scientific research in the US, listening to music an hour every day helps reduce depression by up to 25%. If it really does work, what genre(s) of music will you recommend?
  • Image of Sally Brown


    Healthshare Member

    Music definitely helps sometimes. If I'm really anxious listening to classical music can calm me down a bit. If I'm agitated I like to listen to really loud dance music because it distracts me. When I'm depressed I listen to darker music like Radiohead or Joy Division. It helps me to match the music to my mood. Maybe it's just another form of expression and that's why it's therapeutic.

  • 1


    Experience: 25+ years working in clinical and organisational settingsSpecialities: relationship therapy, trauma focussed therapy, mood disorders, anxiety, panic disorders.Therapies: Emotion Focussed Therapy, Gottman Marital Therapy, ... View Profile

    There have been some limited studies conducted with regard to music therapy and depression. The results indicate that music therapy in conjunction with standard treatments for depression (I.e. psychotherapy and medication) provide statistically significant better relief from symptoms of depression in the short term (I.e. during treatment phase) however there was no difference 3 months post treatment between those who had had music therapy and standard treatment and those who had received standard treatment alone. 

    Having said that, many patients report feeling better after listening to their favourite music for a while and of course attending live music concerts and other venues were music is playing can be beneficial  because it includes socialising and physical activity if you get up and dance and depression will always reduce when there is more singing, dancing and laughing in your life :-).

    All the best


  • Image of CrochetQueenKerry

    Healthshare Member

    I agree. Also local bands/choirs/orchestras etc put on inexpensive concerts; you get “atmosphere” and an outing. The standard of community events is usually quite good and there's something for everyone.

  • I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about ... View Profile

    Music can be used therapeutically in a number of ways. Sometimes you may wish to listen to music you find calming to help you lift your mood. At other times it may be more helpful to listen to music that matches the mood you are in - music can express for us emotions that we find difficult to express ourselves. 
    Playing or creating music yourself can also be used therapeutically. Playing a drum can help us to express anger or frustation; songwriting may allow us to put words to the emotions we are feeling.
    Sometimes it can be beneficial to communicate through music - for example, when I play music with someone else, or in a group, I can feel heard, express feelings in a way that might feel easier or safer than through words, and have the experience of this being supported and received by others.
    If you are interested in deepening your experience of using music to help you therapeutically, you might consider working with a music therapist. Music therapists complete rigorous training through post-graduate study, and are skilled in assisting people to use music in a way that assists healing and recovery. For more information you may like to check out the Australian Music Therapy Association website at

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