“I used to be bored, sad, and without a friend to turn to; but music has always been my best friend. Playing this instrument makes me feel happy and it inspires me a lot because it gives me potential. It shows me who I am, and it shows me who I’m going to be.”

-Vanessa, GLONEVA Band Participant

In light of Mental Health Awareness Month, it is important to understand the positive impact which learning and playing music can have on someone’s mental health and well-being.

Working with a range of different outreaches and programmes, the challenges that our participants may be facing can vary. For example, we work with refugees who have been displaced from their own home and country; adolescents who have the pressure of being the breadwinner for large families; young girls who face the reality of Gender-Based Violence in their communities and possibly at home; children who are living HIV positive and must take their ARV medication; children and youth struggling with neurodevelopmental disorders, and many others. These pressures and challenges can have a significant impact on mental health which can manifest as stress, anxiety, and even depression. Music can be a powerful tool for helping to improve mental health. Studies have shown that music has a number of biological effects on the brain and can improve memory, mood, and concentration. Here are some of the most important ways in which music positively impacts you:

  1. Reduce stress


Researchers at Stanford University found that listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication. Listening to music releases endorphins in the brain. Endorphins give us a heightened feeling of excitement. In addition to feeling euphoric, endorphins quell anxiety, ease pain and stabilize the immune system.


  1. Being a part of a group/community

Occasionally, a feeling linked with depression can be loneliness. Playing music in a band provides the opportunity to socialise and be a part of a community. Working together in a band improves skills such as teamwork and communication.

3. Elevates mood and increases motivation

Strong mental well-being is closely aligned with optimistic and positive feelings. Up-tempo, fast-paced music gets your brain and body moving, making you amped up and motivated to enjoy what’s ahead.

4. Takes your mind elsewhere

Playing music requires focus and attention. This makes it a great activity to be distracted from any other anxious thoughts that you may be worried about. Equally, listening to music helps to forget stresses and encourages you to focus on something else.

Music is something that everyone can enjoy, and it’s something which brings people together. Participating in our music and life-skills sessions can provide a sense of belonging and purpose, whilst helping improve mental clarity, focus and confidence.