Musical Instruments and Mental Health


Music has always been, and will always be a significant part of our lives. It plays a role in shaping cultures, provides a platform for political expression and helps us pass on rituals and values from one generation to the next.

Did you know, though, that in addition to being a major influence on our society, music and musical instruments can actually impact us on an emotional level? According to the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, music has been shown to significantly improve the mental health of both teens and adults suffering from depression and those with substance abuse issues. The study, published in 2011, states that music can help individuals feel more in control, improve sleep habits, improve mood and reduce stress.

How Does it Work?

Incorporating music into daily life by playing musical instruments helps, according to scientists, activate neurons in certain regions of the brain. This releases neurochemicals and hormones. If you like the act of playing the instrument or the song you’re listening to, your brain releases dopamine, which makes you feel good.

In addition to this, musical instruments are a less-threatening approach to traditional talk therapy. Teens who play musical instruments can play songs that encourage emotional expression or exploration of topics that they may not feel comfortable talking about.

In addition to having a beneficial impact on addiction recovery and depression, the Journal of Music Therapy has provided evidence that musical therapy can also help with ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The study indicated that while teens with ADHD were involved in musical activities they were less restless and showed fewer impulsive behaviors.

Another study on the effects of musical instruments (specifically drums) and PTSD revealed that group drumming helped participants feel connected and more open. Drumming also acted as an outlet for the participants who needed to express the rage they were feeling in a healthy way and regain a sense of control over their lives.

Musical Instruments and Music Therapy at Greenbrier Academy for Girls

Greenbrier Academy for Girls believes in the connection between musical instruments and mental health. Every day, your daughter will participate in traditional African drumming, an activity that has been shown to:

  • – Enhance addiction recovery
  • – Induce relaxation
  • – Increase awareness
  • – Release emotional trauma
  • – Alleviate self-centeredness
  • – Improve socialization

While drumming is a fun experience for the girls, the therapeutic effect of this activity is profound. Girls who have been a part of our therapeutic boarding school for a while help newcomers learn how to use the drums, mentoring and teaching each other. This helps reduce isolation and helps the girls get to know one another through a shared activity.

Any girls who enjoy drumming and want to do more of it are encouraged to join our Performance Group. This group attend local venues and various events where the girls can share their music and help others.

Is your daughter struggling with mental health issues? If traditional talk therapy isn’t working on its own, consider our therapeutic boarding school’s group drumming. This type of music therapy can have a significant impact.

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