Tom Dalton

Can Music and Songwriting Heal a Broken Heart?

 

Music is used by music therapists to help people in the healing process.  For example, they help the bereaved in dealing with the loss of a loved one, cancer patients come to terms with their diagnosis and families battling a debilitating illness of a child.  Music therapists help their clients in dealing with all sorts of problem areas and difficult emotions using the power of music. They facilitate songwriting, music improvisation on instruments, and use other interventions while integrating verbal processing and counseling with the music experiences.

Those dealing with personal issues, relationship problems or break-ups can also use music for themselves to help in their own self-healing.   When we listen to songs that speak of heartbreak, it validates our experience and we feel understood. It is comforting to know we are not the only ones going through it.  Sometimes we will get ideas from these songs on how to better deal with our situation.  There is a good reason there are so many popular songs that deal with heartbreak.  The reason is that when songwriters write about their difficult times, it allows them to get their thoughts and feelings out through the creativity of music.  They can describe their heartbreaking experiences and can integrate ways of overcoming the difficult emotions.  Sometimes people just need to be with what they are feeling before they are able to move forward in their life. Songs allow us to be with our emotions and experience them in real time with the music. 

Research has shown that when we listen to songs and music that it is processed very differently by the brain than verbal language. It is a “whole brain” type of processing that connects us with our thoughts, emotions and memories and allows us to tap into our creativity.  The right song can resonate with our own experience and lead us in the path of healing.  It would be great if we all could create songs for ourselves that could help our own healing!

In the same way that music therapists and songwriters create songs about dealing with hard times, the average person who is not a songwriter, music therapist or even a musician can create songs that help themselves in the healing process.  The advantage of creating your own song is that you can put specific details about what you are going through into the lyrics and the music can express the mood that fits with your experience.  Some people believe they could never write a song for themselves because they believe it is too difficult or requires musical talent.  While it is true that music skills make it easier, the only thing that is required to create a song is the willingness to try.  Especially with music technology today it is possible to put together a song through your smart phone, iPad or laptop computer.  There are applications such as GarageBand that enable us to create music effortlessly by playing virtual keyboards or guitars on the screen.  Music loops and beats can create a musical track where we can add our own words and melody.  In very little time one can create a song that expresses one's thoughts and feelings. 

One of the barriers that stops some people from creating a song is thinking it has to be commercial sounding and compete with hit songs on the radio. There is no reason to put that kind of pressure on yourself since this is a personal song that is expressing your own thoughts and feelings for the purpose of self-healing.  The idea is to enjoy the process and create a song that speaks for you!  If you would like more tips on songwriting, please get in touch and I’m happy to share some more ideas with you!

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