Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Music Therapy

Effects of Individual Music Playing and Music Listening on Acute-Stress Recovery/Les Effets Du Jeu et De L'é Coute Musicale Sur le Ré Tablissement D'un Individu À la Suite D'un Stress Aigu

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Music Therapy

Effects of Individual Music Playing and Music Listening on Acute-Stress Recovery/Les Effets Du Jeu et De L'é Coute Musicale Sur le Ré Tablissement D'un Individu À la Suite D'un Stress Aigu

Article excerpt

(ProQuest:. denotes formula omitted.)

Stress and stress-related health issues are major problems in modern life that compromise many aspects of physical and mental health (Glaser et al., 1985; McEwen, 1998]. Thus the goal of identifying behavioural interventions that reduce the intensity and frequency of the stress response or hasten its recovery is timely. The growing research demonstrating associations between music and emotions, health, and well-being have provided a basis for increased inclusion of music and music therapists as active partners in health care (Juslin & Sloboda, 2010; Krueger, 2011]. Music listening has been shown to be helpful to patients recovering from stress through the calming and relaxing affective states it represents and can induce (Azoulay & Loewy, 2009; Harvey, 1987; Taylor, 1997).

Basic psychoacoustic properties of music, such as pitch (high or low tone of sounds], rate (fast or slow speed of sounds], loudness (loud or soft intensity of sounds], mode (major or minor key], timbre, and rhythm have been shown to be important factors in the perception and induction of positive as well as negative emotional states (Gabrielsson & Lindstrom, 2001; Gomez & Danuser, 2007; Husain, Thompson, & Schellenberg, 2002; Ilie & Thompson, 2006, 2011]. For example, listening to a classical music excerpt in a major mode can elicit feelings of pleasantness and contribute to a significant reduction of mental fatigue and stress as measured by Cortisol concentration levels (Suda, Morimoto, Obata, Koizumi & Maki, 2008].

Representations of negative mood and arousal communicated through music have also been found to elicit physiological responses, supporting the behavioural evidence of the relationship between musical structure and affect, both perceived and experienced (Goldstein, 1980; Krumhansl, 1997; Panksepp, 1995]. Fast, staccato music can induce anxiety-like experiences, such as faster breathing and an increased heart rate (Etzel et al., 2006; Gomez & Danusher, 2007; Haas, Distenfeld, & Axen, 1986]. Given this relationship between music and affect, Pelletier (2004] suggested that one of music's functions in life may be to help facilitate the body's process of achieving sympathetic-parasympathetic stability. However, this process may be quite complex and not necessarily linear (McEwen, 2008]. Much research has examined the psychological, physiological, social, and genetic factors that contribute to individual differences in the frequency and intensity of stress responses to psychological challenges (Dickerson & Kemeny, 2004; Kudielka, Hellhammer, & Wust, 2009].

In contrast, there is a small but growing body of interdisciplinary work that has examined what factors and conditions contribute to stress recovery (e.g., Roy, Kirschbaum, & Steptoe, 2001]. It is accepted that music listening has an anxiolytic effect on symptoms of acute stress (Pelletier, 2004]. For example, Hamel (2001] found that 20 minutes of passive music listening was effective in reducing symptoms of acute stress as measured by systolic blood pressure and heart rate in a group of 101 patients waiting for cardiac catheterization, compared to a similar group of patients not exposed to the music intervention.

Unknown, however, is whether the playing of music would have similar effects on the stress system. This question has generally been challenging to address since performance anxiety, as measured by behavioural and physiological responses, could be confounded with more beneficial performance states (Steptoe, 2001]. Studies involving trained musicians have established that music performance may result in a pleasant experience-even elation; however, it may also lead to performance anxiety due to a state of motor readiness while already in a state of high tension and anxiety, which can interfere with control of fine motor skills and coordination (Persson, 2001; Yoshie, Kudo, Murakoshi & Ohtsuki, 2009]. …

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