The Well-Tempered Ear

Can classical music help treat anxiety and depression?

January 24, 2010

By Jacob Stockinger

Can classical music help treat anxiety or depression?

Based on what I have seen and read and experienced personally, the proposition seems iffy to me.

I recall that  the famed piano virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz (below)

retired from concertizing several times when he was being treated for depression, and that his late career success blossomed only after he got off medication that had impaired his playing and memory.

Somehow when you’re depressed, a sense of pleasure goes away. Doesn’t that affect whether and how you listen to classical music — or, for that matter, any other kind of art or music?

It is hard to imagine composing music when you are seriously or clinically depressed or anxious. But maybe some famous composers did just that.

Maybe some performers too.

But then again maybe the field of art therapy has made progress on that front.

Anyway, some German researchers now say that classical music– but not necessarily others kinds  can benefit anxious and depressed persons.

Here’s a link:,music-can-help-treat-conditions-such-as-anxiety-depression.html

What do you think or know from personal experience about listening or performing classical music if you are depressed or anxious?

How do you respond to classical music when you are anxious or depressed?

Are there composers or pieces you find good or bad to listen when you are depressed or anxious:

What do you make of the new research?

The Ear wants to hear.

Posted in Classical music

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