Book Review, Music, Nonfiction

Music as Medicine Particularly in Parkinson’s Disease by Daphne Bryan PhD


Music can play an important part in our lives yet how many of us appreciate the effect it has on our brains, bodies, and moods, or understand how we can use music as a medicine? Music has the power to reduce everyday symptoms, such as stress, insomnia, pain, depression, and even snoring, as well as helping challenges found in neurological conditions such as freezing and gait problems, and difficulties with voice and swallowing.

With modern advances in technology, scientists are now able to measure the precise effect of music on body and brain. Music as Medicine presents many research studies that have examined the effect of music on various conditions, and offers clear suggestions as to how readers can use music to reduce various symptoms, whether a person thinks themselves musical or not. It covers three aspects of musical involvement: listening to music, moving to music, and making music.

Daphne Bryan, Ph.D., takes a special look at the benefits of music for neurological conditions, Parkinson’s in particular. Music stimulates many areas of the brain and in the case of damaged brains, it can activate alternative pathways to act in the place of damaged ones. Many of the symptoms discussed are also experienced by people with other diagnoses and by those who are otherwise fit and healthy so this book contains much that is relevant to all.


Music is everywhere. Why not use music as medicine?  I grew up loving music. I have sung solos in choir. I play the piano, flute, and bassoon.  And I listen to music every day, i.e. when exercising, when reading, when cooking, etc.  So when I saw this book, I was intrigued to find out what medical benefits music has for Parkinson’s Disease and other afflictions as mentioned in the summary.

Though it is a short read, the book contains significant information that I think people will find useful and hopefully improve their quality of life. I was fascinated by well-researched data such as “music lights up more of the brain than any other activity”, and that music has the power to reduce pain, depression, and brain fog. It also talks about the benefits of singing, humming, and playing an instrument.  

In addition, the book includes appendices with suggested music to listen to while exercising or relaxing and there are several pages of notable references from scholarly journals and manuals.

Overall, I found this to be an educational and valuable resource for those experiencing symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, stroke, depression, sleep apnea, PTSD, and several other medical conditions. Dr. Bryan also bravely narrates her personal journey with Parkinson’s Disease and how it has improved her quality of life. 

Thank you to Dr. Bryan and Authoright for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.


Music as Medicine

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Daphne BryanDaphne Bryan began playing the piano at the age of seven and at 13 was awarded a county scholarship to study piano and voice. She continued her studies at music college, where she was awarded the piano prize in her second year.

After college, Daphne taught music in schools in Salford, London and Hampshire and then in British Forces schools in Germany and Belgium. During this time, she also taught piano privately and trained several choirs.

At the age of 51, she gained an MA with distinction from Sheffield University in Psychology for Musicians and, four years later, a PhD in music psychology.

In 2010, she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Since then she has researched keenly to find ways in which she can positively influence her health. Music has provided many ways through which she has reduced her symptoms.

She still teaches piano and trains a choir.

Follow Dr. Bryan on Twitter and Instagram.