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Sharing Pain & Suffering = The Blues
Why does it feel so good?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 

November 28, 2021 - 4:43 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 6235
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I know there have been scientific studies showing how listening to music can be used to reduce stress, relieve anxiety and thereby help reduce pain. 

I still think there's more to it.  
  • Those studies don't take in to consideration that people can go to a Concert, alcohol & drug-free (I think that's possible), and end up in a trance - by listening to a Rock Ballad! 
  • Or, how good it feels to sing - even if it's only in the shower! 
  • AND, most important for us, is how AMAZING it feels to express our emotions through 'playing' a musical instrument!  (I believe there's another thread on this topic, I'll have to link to later) 
  • I think we also receive emotional well-being when we share all this - especially with other musicians!  Humans are social beings and I suspect even musicians that appear to be anti-social, or 'Lone Wolves' - maybe at least share their music with critters.  🤔 ...wait a minute, is that me?

Mark O'Connor composed, "The Cluster Blues", he performs with his 'Hot Swing Trio'. 

There's a short interview, in the Video description - where Mark discusses the relationship between his music, his horrible childhood and the physical pain he currently endures from 'cluster' headaches!  


This article in 'Psychology Today' talks about studies of music for pain management. 

But what caught my attention is, it's suspected that listening to 'emotionally engaging' music effects our brain's 'Opiod System' - which controls physical and emotional pain!

I'm sure this could possibly be even more true for musicians who have learned to channel their emotions through their instruments - releasing it in their music! 

Music and Pain Relief - Psychology Today


When people 'sing' the Blues, there's a shared imagery from the lyrics we can all relate to.  It feels good to know we aren't alone in experiencing hard times. 

When 'playing' the Blues, you have to make the music your words!  

Why Do The Blues Feel So Good? - Psychology Today


Now, I did find a scientific study that showed negative results for mental health outcomes and musicians - but after reading it, I believe they didn't take into consideration what might be a separate category of 'creative people'! 

Even throughout History it's been known that many, creative people seem to be prone to depression or stress-related disorders! 

That doesn't mean that playing music caused it or made it worse.  On the contrary, I think they'll find it helped! 



While studying about Artists, later in my life, this point of possibly being prone to mental health issues was brought up.  Some disturbing statistics were presented at that time. 


If you happen to be one of these highly sensitive, creative people, it's important to be aware that your chances of committing suicide by the age of 20, is VERY high - but, if you can just make it that far, then you'll probably live to a very ripe old age!  

...might be nice if all adolescents were made aware of this while they're young enough to address problems with depression and learn to make better choices, before it gets out of hand! 

- Emily


November 28, 2021 - 7:53 am
Member Since: November 10, 2018
Forum Posts: 299
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Interesting subject @ELCBK. Sure, a correlation between mental health issues and artistic/musical/creative occupations doesn't imply any causal link between the two.

I understand the articles and studies are more about listening to music, not playing it.

As far as musicians are concerned, I'd make a distinction between two types. There are the music-players here, the late-starters (at least most of us are) who play for enjoyment with no pressure ; and those who aim to become professional, music students who start at an early age, go from one audition/exam to the next, with tons of daily practice needed. I watched this video from TwoSet a while ago. What they describe can be detrimental to mental health – just like any other form of intensive training.

Personally, I'm actually glad I didn't start early.


November 28, 2021 - 8:05 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 6235
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@wtw -

Thanks for the link! 

Maybe we just need to play more 'BLUES'. 😊


...I didn't link the one article that I found on the study of Musicians and Mental Health Outcomes, because it didn't account for people who might have had issues, like depression or anxiety, even without playing an instrument - maybe worse!


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