Music as antidepressant



The other day I was buying wine – how to get through quarantine, without a decent glass of wine? – and I got into a discussion with the friendly woman behind the counter. (Not about wine. Discussions about wine are tedious.) No, we talked about music, more in particular what music to play to get a twenty year old who is coping with depression back on track again.
That music might do more for the soul than a 100.000 words, is obvious, but the question of course remains: what kind of music? What will make this young man, who just quit his math studies and doesn't know what to do with himself, come off the couch and enjoy life again? I'm not saying music is the way to treat depression, not at all, but it could be a beginning.
'I played some Nono for him, but he wasn't interested,' the shopkeeper said. 'It didn't do anything for him.'
Nono? Did she mean Luigi Nono? How could a twenty year old possibly be interested in modern classical music from the Italian avant garde? If I would play this music for my twenty year old, he would probably look at me, without saying a word, with the expression on his face: what on earth are you thinking?
'Why not Philip Glass?' I said. 'Lavinia Meyer did a wonderful album with his music. Couldn't that comfort your ex-mathematician?'
The shopkeeper laughed hard, shaking her head. 'I hate that music! It is so soft! And Lavinia Meyer makes me puke!'
Okay.
'He was interested in Charles Mingus,' she went on.
I nodded. Charles Mingus is good, but maybe not a depression killer.
We were silent for a moment. Then she said, 'When I was his age, I listened to punk.'
'But of course!' I said. 'Punk! That could do the job. Put on The Clash, The Ramones, The Buzzcocks, what have you, really loud. You've got to try everything.'

This seemingly exhaustive list of names of punk bands from all over the world put a smile on my face.