Can music and a mindfully made playlist soothe and improve health and well-being? Award-winning Canadian music therapist Jennifer Buchanan knows the answer is yes, and shares both how (and why) in her new book Wellness, Wellplayed: The Power of a Playlist.
“Just like our physical health, our mental health requires attention — perhaps now more than ever,” Buchanan says. “When you are in transition or feeling lost, music can be the lifeline you need to get you through to the next step. Even during the most challenging of times, it can reassure us that everything is going to be OK.”
Diving deep to transform absent-minded playlist-making into an artful form of self-care, Buchanan is a lighthouse in the endless sea of songs across Spotify, SoundCloud, and the like. Cover to cover, the Calgary author, entrepreneur, and keynote speaker wastes no time harnessing her leading expertise as a certified music therapist to guide readers through building their own thoughtfully compiled playlists — and why they should.
“Music can transport us to a different place; it can help us remember, or forget,” she explains. “And in theory, putting together a playlist is incredibly simple, but that does not make it easy. Wellness, Wellplayed helps you discover all the ways playlists can impact our memory, mood, and motivation. It shows how to use playlists with purpose as a bridge to something deeper within ourselves, and demonstrates how music and playlists can be a way to address our human need to feel, create, and connect.”
It’s a sentiment that resonates: Starting with a forward from The Awesome Music Project’s Rob Carli and Terry Stuart, a Canadian fundraising initiative designed to further research relating to music’s profound impact on mental health, the book also features ringing endorsements from Eagles’ Don Felder, Guitars for Vets’ Steve Gilliss and more.
The author of two award-winning books — Tune In (2020), and Wellness Incorporated (2019) — as well as a children’s singalong story celebrating diversity and abilities, My Body’s Special, Jennifer Buchanan has been instrumental in the implementation of hundreds of music therapy programs and advocating for music therapy services throughout Canada since 1991. Now, through Wellness, Wellplayed: The Power of a Playlist, she offers readers an accessible and approachable path to crafting a healing and helpful soundscape all their own.
“There is so much scientific, clinical, and personal evidence that proves music improves health and well-being,” she says. “Music can be a sure friend, and I believe there is no better way to give our mental health the care it needs than through the right music, at the right time, and in the right way.”