Can music help with depression? Yes! Studies show that music can ease anxiety, restore speech, relieve pain, and reduce side effects from surgery. Music can even help people who struggle with depression.
In the interview below, award-winning musician, Paul Cardall, shares his thoughts on the healing power of music.
Hear more of Paul’s music (for free) at http://www.youtube.com/cardall
Transcript of Music Heals the Broken Heart:
I am Paul Cardall. I am a professional musician. I have spent the last 20 years composing piano pieces and making a living from, I guess, the best way to say it is: expressing things that I have observed in life and how I feel about life, through music. I guess like most kids, you take piano lessons. Especially in our culture, everybody takes piano lessons. The question is: do you last? And I could not handle practicing. I just did not like it. I wanted to go out and play before the sun went down. And so I took piano lessons for about six months, frustrated my teacher. She was frustrating me and I was frustrating her and my mom, because there’s 8 kids and that’s a lot to take care of, said “Fine, if you don’t want to do take piano lessons then you’re done.”
Grief and Loss
Sadly, though, when I was 17 years old, one of my friends, who was very good at playing the piano, he passed away—there was a car accident that took his life. It really just devastated me. One of the main reasons it devastated me, so personally, was because I’d lived my whole life with a defective heart. I was born with congenital heart disease, which is the number one birth defect, number one cause of infant-related deaths. And fortunately, I had survived with surgery as a baby. But I grew up wondering and doctors always saying “We don’t have much, as far as your future, surgeries or anything.” Every year I’d live they treated symptoms and when I was 13 I had surgeries and I was 14 I had surgery. And so I always expected I wouldn’t live very long.
And then out of nowhere, this perfectly healthy human being, one of my very close friends, one minute he’s here, and I was talking to him, and the next minute he’s gone. And I’m at his funeral and it was extremely sobering for me because I’m asking, kind of, all these questions because I do believe in God. I’m trying to understand why I’m still here, you know? And one of my fundamental beliefs is that there is life after death. And I do believe that God calls us home and some of us go way too early, you know, and we don’t always understand those things.
Music Heals Depression
But, for me, I was trying to comprehend all this and I went into my parents’ living room and I sat down at the piano and it was wild because I just played a couple of notes and they were really simple. It was like. I hit, like, that little phrasing. And it had seemed like I’d heard it before. And yes, maybe I probably heard it in a song, but at that moment, hearing that simple tone, the music—it was kind of a sad, little melody but it spoke to my heart.
And slowly, over time, I would sit there at the piano and try to figure out what to do with that. And, even though this was sparked by the loss of my friend, what it did was it opened this whole window to me that I could look through and I could discover that I could play the piano. I didn’t have a teacher telling me where to hold my hands or what to do. But just a simple melody. And I just start adding the chords. And it became my first song. But it wasn’t until I took that particular song and had finished it that I took it to my friends’ parents and I played it for them.
And the Spirit that was in the room and the emotions and everything involved, that’s when I truly saw something that God had given me and something that I could use as a tool to help alleviate the suffering of others. Because I, myself, had been given peace through it—the assurance that I would see my friend again. Call it ‘Faith’ call it ‘Belief’ but I knew through music that everything was going to be okay. And so really, that kind of began my music, my piano playing, and that’s really the heart of everything I do now is where I draw all my creative—everything I create really comes from pain and experiences to offer hope and healing.