11 Quotes That Get At The Heart Of Music Therapy

Words From Those Who Heal and Have Healed

We’ve all experienced that indescribable sensation when listening to music. We listen to a sad tune when we need to let it out, an uplifting beat when we feel joyful, and ambient sounds when we need to soothe ourselves. If it’s possible to feel so much through music on our own, imagine what can happen when adding therapy to the mix. 

Music therapy is an up and coming sect of mental health work that’s becoming increasingly popular. Using music, therapists offer a free flowing experience to help soothe their patients. This might mean playing music for a patient, teaching them to play, or simply experimenting with what sounds evoke feelings. Of course, there are also specific goals one might have when seeking out music therapy as an option. 

Some of these might include increasing one’s ability to express themselves, honing in on relaxation, acquiring new coping skills, etc. 

Music therapy has also shown to be effective physically as well as psychologically. It can aid in pain reduction, stress reduction, and increasing brain activity in people who live with neurological disorders, like Alzheimer's.

Music therapy is special because it meets these goals by connecting us to part of ourselves that doesn’t take in words, but pure feeling. 



children playing instruments with music therapist
Music therapy can help those suffering with various ailments cope with procedures among other things. For children in particular, it’s a great way to express feelings they don’t have the words for. Image courtesy of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Here are ten quotes that capture the essence of the healing power of music:

  1. “Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears- it’s a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. But for many of my neurological patients, music is even more--it can provide access, even when no medication can, to movement, to speech, to life. For them, music is not a luxury, but a necessity.”

           --Oliver Sacks, neurology professor, best-selling author, and physician

       Oliver Sacks was a huge supporter of music and its ability to heal. Author of the book, Musicophilia, explored how music affected the healing and management   of multiple neurological conditions through individual stories.

  1. “Imagination is tapping into the subconscious in a form of open play. That is why art or music therapy, which encourages a person to take up brushes and paint or an instrument, and just express themselves, is so powerful.”

         --Phil ‘Philosofree’ Cheney, author of multiple books including Energizing Your Life and Brion and Freya

  1. “Music should be a part of every analysis”

        --C.G. Jung, world renowned psychoanalyst

        If Carl Jung, of one the fathers of psychotherapy, believes in the healing power on music, there must be something to it!

  1. “Listening to music has a positive impact on our health, by helping us recover faster when we experience stress, and through the reduction of the stress hormone cortisol, to help us achieve a calm state or homeostasis.” 

       --Alex Doman, Music Producer and author of Healing at the Speed of Sound

  1. “Music can heal the wounds that medicine cannot touch.”

        --Debasish Mrihda


Teacher instructing student on music technology

Music therapy can be a connective experience both between the therapist and client and the client with themselves. Image courtesy of DGLimages via iStock.


  1. “When words fail, music speaks.”

       --Hans Christian Anderson, prominent fairy-tale author

       This couldn’t be more true. Music therapy provides a medium for those who have trouble expressing their emotions through words. In certain terms, music  therapy allows an alternative ‘language’ for those seeking it out.

  1. “As a music therapist, having produced an album about the human condition--about anxiety, ADD, and the whole spectrum of what we’re doing, it’s...it’s just such an honor to create art that does more than entertain.”

      --Jon Samson, Music Therapist accepting a Grammy for his work on the album, Ageless: Songs for the Child Archetype.

       This is an important moment for both Samson and the music therapy field, to say the least. Getting recognized by the highest music award organization provides an opportunity for visibility. People who may never have heard of music therapy may now open themselves up to the concept, bringing it further into the mainstream. 

  1. “Music is the only thing we can engage with that activates every part of our brain.”

       --Dr. Annie Heiderscheit, Music therapist

       Since music lights up both sides of the brain, one can imagine music therapy to be healing in a way that is unique to the treatment modality. 


Woman listening to music

The simple act of listening to music can turn a whole day around if we know what lights us up. If you’re having trouble figuring out what works for you, it might be time to consider music therapy! Image courtesy of Andrea Picaquadio via Pexels.


  1. “Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel.” 

       --Hunter S. Thompson, american Journalist and author.

       This point emphasizes the point of music being a driving force for growth. Music can be used as medicine for things as common as everyday stress to our deepest pain.

  1.  “In a world full of separation, anger, prejudice, fear, judgement and pain, perhaps by expanding our familiar musical tastes we could slowly develop a listening ear for others who may not fit into our comfortable genres.” 

       --Amy Camie, breast cancer survivor and classically-trained harpist

  1. “Music can be a profound step in the exploration of self, in the conscious act of honest reflection that goes by many names--mindfulness, meditation, self-discovery, self-empowerment, and enlightenment.”  

      --Amy Camie, cont’d

As an entity, music has the power to heal us daily. Whether listening after a long day of work or in a hospital setting, it has therapeutic value that differs from so many treatment options available. Music therapy is still largely considered niche, but it’s  slowly taking its rightful place on the psychological stage. If you’re looking for ways to soothe everyday stress or activate joy, check out Incadence for more information!






Brooke Barash
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