Studies have shown that 98% of us have an inherent desire to make music. Don’t believe me? Did you ever bang on your mother’s pots and pans? We all want to do things that make us happy and make us feel good, and music is certainly something that can make you feel good. Now, the world of science and medicine has finally caught on to something us music-makers have known all along: music not only makes you feel good, but it’s good for you!
In 1998, Dr Frederick Tims, professor and chair of Music Therapy at Michigan State University, teamed up with doctors and scientists from several universities across the globe to conduct an experiment on music making and wellness. They used 69 retirees in Michigan as their control group, carrying on their normal hobbies which didn’t include music, and 60 retirees in Florida who took 30 weeks of music classes. Medical and psychological tests were run on the two groups before during and after the 30 weeks and the results were tremendous. After only 20 weeks of music classes, anxiety, loneliness, and depression scores all decreased in the music group, but not in the control group. The music students reported that they felt happier than they had before.
The most surprising find dealt with the reproduction of HGH (human growth hormone). HGH is a hormone that helps dictate how we grow and develop when we are young. We produce a lot of the hormone as children and teenagers and once we hit our early 30’s, our reproduction slows way down. The study showed that the music students experienced a 92% increase in their own HGH production!
So the next time you sit down to play, whether it’s at Carnegie Hall, the Starlight Lounge, or in your living room playing for your own amazement, take a deep breath, relax, and remember that this is more fun than having to eat all your vegetables!