Singing away stress and anxiety through music

Singing away stress and anxiety through music

Music has accompanied almost every human activity from grand celebrations to the most melancholic moments. The notes and rhymes composed by prolific musicians have become the “soundtrack of our lives.” From the romantic garden weddings highlighted by sounds from a string quartet, to the sensual noises that fill every Mardi Gras, to the feel-good melodies of Disney parades — music has always played a central role.

The importance of music was immortalized by Rogers and Hammerstein in the movie musical, Sound of Music. The movie tells the story about the stress and anxiety experienced by the Von Trapp children who lost their mother, Agathe Whitehead Von Trapp. Her death brought unbearable grief and sorrow to the family, especially to Captain Georg Ritter Von Trapp. In his own grief, Captain Von Trapp forbid his children from singing, playing and doing other things that would somehow show a certain degree of happiness. Like sailors in a ship, Captain Von Trapp ruled his children and demanded discipline at all times.

But all of that was about to change upon the arrival of Maria Kutschera, an aspiring nun who was sent by her superiors to the Von Trapp residence to serve as a governess. Despite her very positive and adventurous personality, Maria, too, felt the stress and anxiety of helping raise the Von Trapp children under the watchful eye of the captain.

Slowly, using music as a tool, Maria was able to win the love and respect of the Von Trapp children. Through music, she was able to share a part of herself to her ward. The stress and anxiety of living in the middle of a war was made bearable due to Maria’s music which served as a melodic form of anxiety relief. Still, the pressures of living in a Nazi-controlled country provided little room for enjoyment. Each day brought them closer to stricter military control, making even music a subject of close Nazi scrutiny.

Stress and anxiety, almost always, hovered over Captain Von Trapp’s day. As a Navy officer, he was caught between the duty to serve as part of the Nazi war machine and the need to be a father to his children. To make up for the loss of his wife, he allowed himself to consider remarriage to a woman who was seen by the Von Trapp children as the farthest thing from being a replacement to their mother.

In the latter part of the movie, an unexpected romance blossomed between Maria and Captain Von Trapp. Through her winsome personality, she was able to convince the Captain about the need to let the children have fun and enjoy themselves. Maria was able to show the Captain that the time to grieve had already passed and that it is possible for the Von Trapp family to “sing a new song.”

In a dramatic escape, the Von Trapp family used a singing event to plan and execute their escape from the Nazis. They literally sang their way to freedom from stress, anxiety, and all the things that held them back from becoming a happy family.