As Keene State College students look towards the final full month of the semester, and the workload only seems to increase, many search for methods to relieve their stress. Going to the gym, reading a book, or taking a walk have proven to be useful forms of relaxation. However, in times of stress, many people turn to music as their method of escape.

For decades, entertainment has been a way for everyday people to escape the harsh reality of the world. The late 1920s-1950s were considered to be the Golden Age of Hollywood, especially booming in the 1930s due to the Great Depression. During the Vietnam War, the country saw growth in the music industry, creating a new sound that was unlike anything heard before. When facing stress or anxiety, people look for relief.

While it may seem counterproductive to listen to music rather than tackling the obstacle that is causing you stress head on, according to Psych Central, productivity will increase as an individual’s stress levels decrease.

Senior Karver Bosela is currently majoring in a specialized degree of psychology and music, with the hope of working with people through music therapy. Bosela explained that music therapy is often used to better one’s emotional, cognitive and social issues. This specific type of therapy is frequently used for individuals with disabilities or illness, but there is a correlation between music and healing benefits that can be seen in a wide range of people.

Bosela pointed out that not only does music reduce stress as well as fix other obstacles an individual may be facing, but it takes away some of the taboo of typical therapy.  “It can put therapy in a more positive light,” Bosela said.

Bosela decided to pursue career in this field due to his past. “I’m actually a success story from music therapy. I grew up with a very severe speech impediment. I would stutter a lot,” Bosela said. After taking music therapy however, Bosela’s speech improved and music became a passion for him. “Music is a big part of my life now,” Bosela said.

Also sharing that passion for music is first-year and musician, Alyssa Taylor. Taylor’s love of music began to develop in middle school. “I downloaded Pandora and I discovered a lot of stuff on it. My friends would suggest stations for me,” Taylor said. She continued, “I also played Rock Band on the Wii, which made me get into more rock stuff.”

From there, Taylor’s love of music continued to grow into her hobby as well as her stress outlet. “[When listening to music] I can tune everything out and I also play music,” Taylor added. “I like to write the music first and then put the words after it. I usually write it on guitar first, sometimes I’ll play piano.”

First-year Levi Norway, who also enjoys playing the guitar, explained a different idea on the stress relieving qualities of music. While he stated his belief that music relieves stress, he also explained its elements of self expression. “I think it’s [music] a really important thing to have in someone’s life because there are so many venues to express yourself; to be able to listen to whatever you want, and to dictate how you’re going to spend your stress throughout the day,” Norway continued. “I think it’s [music] a really stress relieving thing to do or be able to do. It’s like there’s a lot of discipline and effort that goes into it to progress but once you get it, it’s endless entertainment.”

However, Norway also expressed how he believes music could actually cause more stress to an individual. “There is music that could potentially hype you up in a negative light and could make you more stressed out. Your brain might project yourself into the song and perpetuate some stress you do have,” Norway said.

Despite some scepticism, Norway concluded with, “I honestly do believe [music] relieves stress in the overall picture of things.”

Erin McNemar can be contacted at

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