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The Healing Power Of Music

Since antiquity, music has always been indispensable to culture, having served in various capacities such as entertainment, linguistic expression, and religious rituals. Additionally, research increasingly shows the significantly positive influence music can have on our personal development and wellbeing.

One of the main ways music leads to being “good” is related to its effects on our emotions. Listening to music can evoke a myriad of influences on our feelings from revitalisation and energising to calming and soothing. This emotional regulation can lead to better self-awareness, empathy, and social skills which bear great importance when it comes to being a good person. Music can help us better align ourselves with our feelings, which, in turn, can help us better understand ourselves and others. Besides, playing an instrument or singing has cognitive benefits such as improved memory, concentration, and problem-solving skills. These abilities can also reflect in other aspects of life, contributing to personal growth and development. When we learn to play an instrument, we challenge our minds to learn new patterns and structures; this can help us learn other complex skills and concepts in the oncoming periods of our lives.

Though the relation between music and being “good” is not essentially direct in general, it’s evident that music can contribute to personal development and social well-being. Whether we’re listening to it or performing it, music can help us be more aware, empathise, and connect with others. It can also aid us in developing cognitive abilities that could be reflected in other parts of life.


The most realistic example of how vast an influence music can have in transforming the lives of people, especially children and youth, and guiding them towards benevolence, could be el Sistema, a music education program that was inaugurated in Venezuela in 1975 by economist and musician José Antonio Abreu and is publicly financed. With the aim of encouraging social change, supporting social development, providing opportunities for personal growth and development, and keeping youth away from crime, the program offers free-of- charge classical music training to children from backgrounds with limited opportunities. It showed great success in Venezuela and has inspired many similar ones around the world. El Sistema is known for its utilisation of orchestral training as a tool for social development and helps many children, both in Venezuela and beyond, to improve their musical skills and expectations in life. Plato believed that music could facilitate the development of good character. He stated that music could affect one’s psyche which could change their behaviour. Friedrich Nietzsche thought music could enrich people’s emotional life and guide them towards deeper thinking on the meaning of life. On the other hand, Hitler, who went down in history as one of the most ruthless dictators of the 20th century, was an avid fan of classical music; he believed that it gave him the courage to persevere through the world’s suffering and was one of the primary traits of humankind. Another interesting fact is that Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9,” which reminds us that strength is ethical and joy of life is a duty, bore great importance in Hitler’s life. In this context, one should keep in mind that there’s no direct relation between one’s taste in music and their character or political views.


Music can bring people together and can encourage a sense of community and connection. Doing music with others or attending concerts and festivals can create a shared experience that could strengthen relations and encourage positive social behaviour. We can learn about different cultures by sharing music with others and, thus, understand them better and be receptive to them. This, in fact, is a change that has been openly observed by many workers in the culture and arts industry, including festival and concert organisers. For instance, as the Istanbul Music Festival team, we can personally see the expressions on the facial expressions and the body language of the concert audience, who battle the traffic and the crowds of a metropolis such as Istanbul, at the entrance of the venue and how their interaction with others in the audience or the field team changes; similarly, at the end of the concert, they all look completely different, having been softened and surrounded by love and compassion as they leave.

Given that music is an important factor for people’s mental health and that it can affect our emotions, it seems possible to create a sense of community and connection as people come together to enjoy the shared experience of attending a live music performance; encourage positive social behaviour; and to strengthen social relations. Music, in general, is an influential tool that can help us better understand ourselves and the people around us, and that can contribute to our personal development as well as social well-being. We must harness this influence and hold onto the healing power of music.

I’m confident that the healing and uniting power of the concerts and music at the 51st Istanbul Music Festival**, between June 1 and 17, will benefit the fans of the festival. It’s been a couple of years due to the pandemic; not long ago, we experienced one of the most destructive calamities in the history of our country, and challenging times lay ahead. I invite everyone to our concerts at the festival so that we can cultivate our hopes and dreams and greet the new century of our country while united around music.


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