Can Music Save Your Life? – Part 2

Jennifer Campbell continues her exploration of music and the powerful effect it can have on our lives. To read part 1 of Can Music Save Your Life, click here.

Music is featured almost everywhere, we can even go as far as saying that we each have our individual soundtracks to our lives. And as each year passes and we go through a little more we add to it and even when you’re dead, those songs that once helped you are playing as you make your exit from this world. We all remember the songs we listened to from our first to our last loves, the songs we listened to during our school years and of course those songs that remind you of a loved one who may still be with us or not. Music is like a fingerprint, each of us is different and unique in our particular styles and what gets our hearts pounding with an array of emotions.

In a recent online survey, one of the women who answered the question “what does music do for you?”, said:  “It gives me a rush and can completely change my mood. It also gives me confidence in life”. Another respondent said “Songs can hold strong memories, so even if the music seems to be in the background it makes a huge difference to the setting and mood of a situation or memory”.

It is evident to see from the above comments that music is helpful to many people in a variety of situations. It doesn’t just stop with helping people through emotional times in life but music can also be used as therapy to those who are disadvantaged in life. The work of one charity in particular is phenomenal, Nordoff Robbins. They work as a music therapy based charity who works with a wide range of people from all ages, disabilities and illnesses. They particularly work with people who are very isolated or cannot communicate verbally. As with everyone music therapy needs to be adapted to suit each individual, there isn’t just a one trick wonder that will cure everyone instantly. The charity begins by working with the individual and making music with them until they recognise what they respond to then build from that. Often they help people who used to be able and very independent but due to a sudden and unfortunate life event have suffered from isolation.

Speaking with the Director of Music she shared this story in confidence, so he is anonymous. One man in particular lost his receptive and expressive language abilities following a stroke. He felt isolated, cut off and extremely depressed. He began taking music therapy on his own then his wife started joining him in the sessions, there was something magical about what she was witnessing. It went from his wife taking care of him, to them becoming partners again through the power of music.

Another organisation you may be familiar with is Samaritans, the work with people in confidence who are in extremely low places emotionally. Just recently there was a CD release called ‘Songs to Save a Life’ in aid of Samaritans. It featured many artists including James Morrison, KT Tunstall, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and The Overtones who donated their time to a cause they feel strongly about and they each chose a song of significant meaning.

KT Tunstall, multi-platinum singer and songwriter, on recording the album: “I’ve always had huge admiration for Samaritans; their existence is so vital to aid those in desperate need of someone to talk to. And music too can be a route out of places too dark to stay.”

Catherine Johnstone, Samaritans Chief Executive, on the album itself: “All the profits from the album will fund our essential 24-hour helpline service to support anyone feeling suicidal or with nowhere else to turn. We’re extremely grateful to all the artists and to the Songs to Save a Life production team for helping to make it happen. By buying this album, you could help us to save lives.”

The Songs to Save a Life album was named after the production company behind the project. Two music-industry experts, Richard Cardwell, musician/producer and musical director and Phil Armorgie, who has 20 years’ experience in the music industry, approached the Samaritans out of a desire to ‘put something back’ from an industry that had served them both well over the years and their mutual respect for such an incredible organisation.

Every year, Samaritans receives 5 million calls for help – that’s one every 5 seconds and every 60 seconds, the charity answers a call from someone feeling suicidal. The Songs to Save a Life is an album that can help Samaritans help others.

It just goes to show us, that no matter what situation we are in, whether it is a break up or a life altering event such as a stroke, music can do wonders for us. It can save us and bring us back to the life we love.

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About Jennifer Campbell

Growing up on the West coast of Scotland, Jennifer Campbell has always been keen to get out, see the world and experience new cultures and cities. Currently studying music journalism in London, Jennifer uses writing as a way to express her thoughts. Having travelled to many places and lived in America for a short period as a teenager, she has many experiences to bring to the table when sharing her thoughts with others. A real risk taker (skydiving for charity) and an optimist, Jennifer believes you should live your life to the full. Her favourite quote: ‘You only get one today so go out and enjoy it’. Jennifer is just your typical Scottish girl trying to find her place in the world.
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