Music Therapy In Times of Coronavirus
The healing power of music
"If I could write the perfect song
We could let the right out of all the wrongs
Would you close your eyes, would you let it in?
Would you light a candle against the wind?
If I could sing the perfect words
And change the world from hurt to hurt
We're all feelin' stop the bleedin'
You're back to believin'
Love is the answer and music is healin"
-Florida Georgia Line
Well, these lines may sound unreal and dreamy, but scientific studies as early as the 18th century showed evidence of the healing power of music.
Amidst the Covid-19 crisis, everyone's missing their social ecosystem and a sense of real human connection, having access to good music comes as a blessing to most. Managing long hours of professional and household work has been taking its toll for a while now. Music is playing the role of an in-house curer.
"While at work, I have to be constantly online, and attend video calls all day which can be quite tiring," says Prachi Srivastava Sahni, a Delhi based Credit Risk professional.
"I take small breaks during the day to listen to slow Bollywood numbers. During the lockdown. I have been re-visiting old tracks from the Black & White era to the early 90s," adds Prachi
Music is turning out to be the right solution for those who're longing for friends but can't meet them in person.
Prachi, who has a passion for dance and choreography, has been organizing online dance lessons as a way to connect with her relatives and friends.
"Bollywood music is an integral part of my life and a saviour during times like these," she says.
While music is helping people to go back to their roots and get a sense of nostalgia, music therapists confirm its power to transport you into a relaxed state.
"If you listen to happy music, you can convert your sad state into a happy state", says Nithya Rajendran, who's a Mumbai-based Music Therapist.
Music, and uniquely Indian classical music, touches you at a deeper level by cutting your ego and intellectual defences. It makes you forget your current state of anxiety and come back into the present."
Also, the act of producing any form of music or art can help you feel cathartic and liberated," adds Nithya.
For some, music is a way to stay productive and keep up their professional motivation during these grim times.
As a graphic artist, music has always helped me to stay focused on my work. The lockdown has led me to switch from listening to Ghazals to high-frequency music," says Nikhil Verma who's a Delhi-based Creative Marketing Professional.
"In the evening I prefer playing the Hapi drum which relaxes me after work. It helps me to release what's inside me and heal myself.
At night I prefer listening to soft instrumental music as it helps me to get rid of any negativity that I may have gathered during the day," adds Nikhil
Music is helping people to relax while managing their household chores like doing dishes and washing clothes.
Vikalp Dubey, who's a Delhi-based professional artist and writer, has stopped experimenting with his playlist for now. He prefers tuning in to his favourite rock artists like Fleetwood Mac, Guns N' Roses, Eagles, Queen, and Pink Floyd. Among contemporary Indian bands, he prefers Indian Ocean, Raghu Dixit, Kailasa, and Lagori.
I am listening to music that I have grown with and liked over the years, during leisure or while doing household chores", he says
For some, it's their old playlist that's creating the magic. For others, it's the vibe of the music that's tugging at their heartstrings.
Rajib Bose, who's a Business Development Associate, with Corporate Finance Institute, prefers to take a breather with country music and old Bollywood songs.
"My favourites are Don Williams and Mohammad Rafi", he says.
Being indoors all the time can be challenging, and self-healing through music could work to feel better.
"In these times of crisis, it's the individual's responsibility to take care of personal and social health. Music can be the strongest way to maintain inner strength," says renowned Music Therapist and Psychosocial Consultant, Meenakshi Ravi.
Meenakshi, who runs two music schools, opines that light music in the form of Carnatic or Folk or Devotional music heals without our knowledge and provides deep internal strength.
"Depending on your cultural background and religion, you can chant hymns as a way to create positivity during these challenging times," she adds.
The Covid-19 crisis is far from over, and music is proving to be the silver lining. Create your Carona playlist, and you might end up turning quite a few wrongs into right. Wait, you might want to add this cheery lockdown song to your playlist.
If you want some inspiration, you can check out my lockdown playlist:
Nobel Peace Prize Concert - Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash
Tumhare Shehar Ka Mausam by Ustad Shujaat Khan | Live | Virasat - Spic Macay | 2017 | IIT Guwahati
(Pink Floyd) Another Brick In The Wall - Gabriella Quevedo
John Denver - Annie's Song (Official Audio)
John Denver - Leaving On A Jet Plane (Official Audio)
John Denver - Take Me Home, Country Roads (Audio)
Zakir Hussain | Distant Kin | Jig O' Beer & Chai (Live)
Zakir Hussain | Distant Kin | Celnataka (Live)
Zakir Hussain | Distant Kin | Waterman's (Live)
Zakir Hussain | Distant Kin | The Baby Tune (Live)
Ye Jo Halka Halka | Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Abhishek Talreja is a Delhi-based freelance writer, poet, and journalist.