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Music is a universal language as it helps us communicate across cultural and semantic boundaries. Both music and language serve the same purpose as they both are forms of expression. It reaches deep into one’s experience. Language is a communicating system. Music has all the components that a communicating system should accommodate that is consisting of a set of meaningful symbols and rules for combining them to form sentences. In some circumstances, music works better than spoken words as they need not be understood to be efficacious (one of those discussed in this paper). Psychology of music contains substantive evidence of the positive effects of music via emotional pleasure, social connections, intellectual appreciation or spiritual meaning.

It offers alternative forms of help in areas as diverse as respiratory therapy, pain management, physical therapy, and psychiatry. Literature was reviewed that investigates or theorizes about musical improvisation to influence health or wellbeing. PWD when exposed top music improves their focus and mood, therefore, having a positive effect on them. Neuroscience study shows that certain types of music increase the production of dopamine and serotonin – two neurotransmitters that are diminished in Parkinson’s disease patients. Music improves cognitive activity and self-awareness. People of all ages are candidates for music therapy. Listening and making music impacts physical and mental health because music is a universal language, able to be interpreted regardless of language barriers, results in overall human development which contributes to economic progress and hence national development.


Poet Henry Wadsworth said, ‘Music is a universal language of mankind.’ Indeed it is, as musical components such as pitch, rhythm, and tempo are also present in all the languages that we speak every day. Because of these components, people understand emotions through music. Music makes one identify with expressions that are beyond communication channels. Music speaks to our souls. Music connects us in the same way as language does. Imagine, you are sitting in your room with your earplugs on listening to your favorite song, somewhere on the other side of the world someone is listening to the same song. Sometimes music appears to touch on parts that language can’t. The major reason why it is used as a therapy. Consciousness is universal and music heals consciousness. Music bridges the gap between cultures that spoken language can’t. Even animals use Music as a means of communication – whales for instance.

A Harvard led study proves that Music is a universal language. 750 participants from 60 countries took part and they were made to listen to 14 musical excerpts. Participants were exactly able to determine song function despite cultural differences. Thus making Music universal.

Medical art which uses music for healing is called music therapy. Music therapy uses music to address the cognitive, social, physical and emotional needs of individuals regardless of language barriers. It helps manage stress, express feelings, promote physical rehabilitation, enhance memory and improve communication. It offers an alternative form of help in areas as diverse as respiratory therapy, psychiatry and pain management.

There are mainly three areas of music therapy; Passive music therapy, Active music therapy, and Integrative music therapy. In passive music therapy, the patient operates as a listener. He or she does not take an active part in the therapy. In Active music therapy, the patient takes an active part in the therapy by playing and imagining. It is done by playing different instruments or the human voice. A study showed that preadolescents significantly improved target behaviors when they participated in active music therapy. Integrative music therapy combines music and other art forms. Patients are asked to create verses and stories after listening to music. Music therapy sessions were conducted for a group of subjects over a period of 4 months. Results showed that patients improved significantly. The most significant change was observed on the aggression/hostility scale. Results also include recommendations for choosing areas of music therapy based on clinical diagnoses and personality types of subjects. Therefore for emotionally disturbed/learning disabled adolescents, different types of music therapy can facilitate the process of self-expression and transforms anger, frustration, and aggression into an experience of self-mastery and creativity.

Music therapy is one treatment used for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The literature in this field reveals that communication, social interaction, motor skills, academics, behavior in children with autism are developed by structural and functional use of music.

In a case study about children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, within varied and appropriate settings children actively participated in music making as music accommodates different levels and abilities. They gained confidence, established a hobby and learned a skill. Therefore functional use of music at home, school or elsewhere can help and benefit children with autism. It helps them live a more fulfilling and promising life. Therefore music acts as a medium for developing skills that are necessary to function successfully in life. Research also highlights that music therapy groups enhance autistic children’s ability to gaze towards people and it also increases social responsiveness. A case study done on two children with autism and the effect of music in their lives demonstrated that music is a non-threatening medium for learning and developing skills necessary to perform activities of daily living. This case study also shows music’s potential in assisting children with autism to live a more fulfilling and promising life.

Music increases dopamine (feel-good neurotransmitters) levels which in turn improves adherence to structure, self-confidence and auditory processing in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. A study from Florida International University found that children with ADHD benefit by listening to music while reading/writing. This is justified by the arousal and activation effects of music. Children with ADHD struggle with synchronization and timing. Music is a huge help as it heavily depends on timing.

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Music therapy also addresses the need areas for an individual with learning disabilities. It helps develop receptive and expressive speech, improves choice making and develops an understanding of language patterns. It can also be used to teach specific academic information. In addition, the functional structure of music is motivating and captivating. It also develops motor and social skills which results in the enhancement of his or her self-esteem. Music therapy sessions are found to be effective in reducing client’s aggression and self-injurious behavior. It improves the client’s communication skills and psychological well-being.

Music therapy for Parkinson’s disease patients aims to reduce clinical disability, to obtain symptom control, and to improve quality of life. There are many positive effects of active music therapy on motor and emotional functions in patients with Parkinson’s disease. By combining movement and stimulation of different sensory pathways, music boosts motor and emotional responses.

In a case study, thirty-two patients with Parkinson’s disease were assigned to two groups of 16 patients each. Music therapy sessions were conducted which included voice exercise, free body movements, and choral singing. Over time, it was confirmed that music therapy had a significant overall effect on each patient. Improvement in the motor, emotional functions and in activities of daily life was documented. Dopamine and serotonin – two neurotransmitters that are diminished in Parkinson’s disease patients are increased in production by a certain type of music. Music therapy helps patients improve posture and side to side movements. It improves communication by boosting volume. Singing lyrics improves memory. It also helps increase attention span and recognition. It helps combat fatigue, anxiety, depression and more.

[bookmark: _gjdgxs]A case study was carried out on a group of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease who have undergone music therapy. Patients attended sessions which included several activities: welcome song, playing musical instruments, clapping hands, moving arms and legs to a rhythm of a song and guessing songs. Results demonstrated improvement in their memory and orientation. It was also noticed that their cognitive function improved progressively throughout the session. Improvement in scores of anxiety and depression was noted on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Also, significant differences were detected regarding neuropsychiatric symptoms, hallucinations, delusions, and irritability. It also increased their level of tolerance. Therefore music therapy sessions caused physical, cognitive and psychological benefits in patients.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is marked by the powerlessness to overcome stress reactions occurring from a one-month traumatic event. It negatively impacts the survivors quality of life as well as increased risk for other mental health conditions such as depression and survivor’s guilt. Music therapy has the potential to improve the mental condition of individuals struggling with posttraumatic stress. It stands effective to improve social, neurobiological and cognitive mechanisms. Therefore music therapy is a useful tool to improve functioning and reduce symptoms of individuals with PSTD.

Depression is one of the most frequent mental disorders worldwide. Research claims that music therapy can improve the mental health of people with depression. Music therapy offers patient opportunities for new aesthetic and relational experiences. According to the analysis in the Cochrane library when music was added to the treatment routine of people suffering from depression, they felt less depressed and more confident. Music therapy also provides natural anxiety relief.

Music therapy is a complementary program in cancer care as it helps build social, physical and emotional well being. It has many benefits for them like it can be used to improve mood, decrease stress, anxiety, pain and enhance relaxation. In a case study of patients diagnosed with terminal cancer, patients were divided into two groups, one group received continuous music therapy sessions with routine hospice service and the other group received routine hospice service only. It was found that quality of life improved for the group which received music therapy and it increased over time as they attended more sessions. The quality of life of the group which didn’t receive music therapy declined over time. There were no differences in results on the basis of gender or age. Therefore music therapy improved the patient’s quality of life.

Further study is required to better understand music therapy utilization, frequency, and duration required for an optimal response. Research should examine which elements of music therapy interventions are critical for the most effective results of particular symptoms and how music therapy functions as both an adjunctive and standalone treatment. Additional lines of inquiry should examine whether active musical activities confer more benefits superior to physically passive activities.

Mind and Body are clearly distinct but when mental and physical health is considered they should not be thought of as separate. A healthy mind can be considered a gateway for healthy body. As it can be derived from WHO’s definition of health, mental wellbeing is a major component of healthy body. Listening and making music impacts physical and mental health because music is a universal language, able to be interpreted regardless of language barriers. It results in overall human development which contributes to economic progress and hence national development. National development includes social, cultural and economic growth. A society full of life is the backbone for national development. Music impacts physical and mental health and results in absolute development of individuals which directly contributes to national development.

Works cited

  1. Addrc, A. (2018, January 01). Music Can be a Boon for Children with ADHD. Retrieved from
  2. Kern, Petra, Rivera, R., N., Alie, Humpal, & Marcia. (2013, December 01). Music Therapy Services for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Survey of Clinical Practices and Training Needs. Retrieved from
  3. Music for Your ADHD ears. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  4. Salimpoor, V. N., Benovoy, M., Larcher, K., Dagher, A., & Zatorre, R. J. (2011, January 09). Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music. Retrieved from
  5. Rapaport, L. (2017, December 13). Music therapy may help ease depression. Retrieved from
  6. Montello, L., & Coons, E. E. (n.d.). Effects of Active Versus Passive Group Music Therapy on Preadolescents with Emotional, Learning, and Behavioral Disorders. Retrieved from
  7. The effects of music on clients with learning disabilities: A literature review. (2002, September 19). Retrieved from
  8. Hilliard, & E., R. (2003, July 01). Effects of Music Therapy on the Quality and Length of Life of People Diagnosed with Terminal Cancer. Retrieved from
  9. American Music Therapy Association (1983–2013) History of music therapy. 2015 Mar; Retrieved from
  10. Landis-Shack Nora (2017, April 27).Music Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress in Adults: A Theoretical Review. Retrieved from
  11. Music therapy and Alzheimer’s disease: Cognitive, psychological, and behavioural effects. (2017, April 28). Retrieved from
  12. Pacchetti, Claudio & Mancini, Francesca & Aglieri, Roberto & Fundarò, Cira & Martignoni, Emilia & Nappi, Giuseppe. (2000). Active Music Therapy in Parkinson’s Disease: An Integrative Method for Motor and Emotional Rehabilitation. Psychosomatic medicine. 62. 386-93. 10.1097/00006842-200005000-00012.

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