Our Favourite Reads | Mental Health Awareness Week

Check out some selected books on mental health and music… 



As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, the team at our Learning Resources Centre (LRC) has put together some recommended reads on mental health and mental health and music.  

Please visit our Library to borrow the title/s of your choice! 

Read our blog on how our LRC can support you during your time at ICMP. 

Mental Health in the Music Industry : A Guide

By Rachel Jepson 



This guide is a collection of counselling session transcripts with musicians and music industry professionals. It features contributions from leading songwriters and artists including Chris Difford, Carol Hodge, Chesney Hawkes and Hak Baker among others. 

Rachel is a musician and counsellor who has over 20 years of experience in the music industry, sharing her insights around mental health and music. She has hosted radio shows around mental health and music and has spoken on panels at conferences for Help Musicians UK, ISM, We Are Robots and many more.

Touring and Mental Health : The Music Industry Manual

By Tamsin Embleton 



This comprehensive manual aims to help musicians and live music industry professionals identify and cope with the various physical and psychological difficulties that can occur during, or as a result of touring. 

It covers a wide range of topics including mental health, peak performance and performance anxiety, addiction, and group dynamics. 

Each chapter features personal recollections from musicians and prominent touring personnel, including Nile Rodgers, Justin Hawkins, Philip Selway, Charles Thompson, Katie Melua, Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) and many more. 

Managing Stage Fright : A Guide for Musicians and Music Teachers

By Julie Jaffee Nagel



Author Julie Jaffee Nagel explores the mysteries of how performers can be hit by memory slips, technique failures, and public humiliation when taking to the stage. The book analyses why stage fright happens and what performers can do to reduce the chances of it occurring.

Inside the guide, readers will find strategies for achieving performance confidence, all emphasising the relevance of mental health in teaching and performing. Through the practices of self-awareness outlined in the book, Nagel demonstrates that it is possible and desirable for teachers to assist students in developing the coping skills and attitudes that will allow them to not feel overwhelmed and powerless when they experience strong anxiety. 

Sound Advice : The Ultimate Guide to a Healthy and Successful Career in Music 

By Rhian Jones and Lucy Heyman



This book shares research-informed advice and information that aims to help musicians, as well as those that work with them, navigate their way through the music industry while still prioritising their health. 

It covers the mental and physical health problems research suggests musicians might come up against and offers plenty of tools and techniques to help aid prevention. You'll also find information about the structure of the industry, money management, and how to improve your skills as a performer, creator, and CEO of your career. 

Bodies : Life And Death In Music  

By Ian Winwood



While ostensibly, professional musicians and artists appear to have it all, underneath the surface are many challenges including tolerating addiction and exploitation, all in the name of entertainment. 

This book explores the sector's reluctance to face up to these failures via interviews with the likes of Trent Reznor and the Foo Fighters while also detailing the author's own mental health struggles following the death of his father. 

Songwriting For Wellness : Using Music To Heal The Mind

By Tim Cheesebrow



Mental health is on everyone's mind these days. In addition to the large spike we're seeing in diagnoses of depressive and anxiety related disorders, there are other issues at play: a lack of access to health care, lack of resources, social change, thin social bonds, and lack of coping skills. 

In this book, the author offers his own persional story and how he uses songwriting to address mental challenges alongside other stories of songwriters and artists who have used songwriting to practise wellness too. 

It aims to work as a practical guide for using songwriting for personal fulfilment that backs up its assertions with research-based evidence from multiple fields of study: physics, psychology, anthropology, music therapy, evolutionary biology, and the wisdom of music makers. 

Music And Mind : Harnessing The Arts For Health And Wellness 

By Renée Fleming



Renée Fleming is a world-renowned soprano and arts/health advocate who uses this book to curate a collection of essays from leading scientists, artists, creative arts therapists, educators, and healthcare providers about the powerful impact of music and the arts on health and the human experience. 

In addition to describing therapeutic benefits, the book explores evolution, brain function, childhood development, and technology as applied to arts and health with essays from notable musicians, writers, and artists, as well as leading neuroscientists. 

Why Are We Attracted to Sad Music?

By Sandra Garrido



The author offers different perspectives in psychology, aesthetics, history and philosophy that are used to survey the value given to sad music by human societies throughout history to the present day. 

Garrido shares empirical research that illuminates the psychological and contextual variables that influence our experience of sad music, its impact on our mood and mental health, and its usefulness in coping with heartbreak and grief. 

The Oxford Handbook of Music Therapy

By Jane Edwards



Music therapy is growing internationally to be one of the leading evidence-based psycho-social allied health professions, meeting needs right across the lifespan. In the Oxford Handbook of Music Therapy, international leaders in the field from 10 countries have contributed their expertise to showcase contemporary music therapy.

They share knowledgeable perspectives from multiple models of music therapy that have developed throughout the world, including Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy,

Mental Health And Wellbeing In The Workplace : A Practical Guide For Employers And Employees 

By Donna Butler and Gill Hasson



This book provides guidance for both employers and staff on promoting positive mental health and supporting those experiencing mental ill health in the workplace. 

According to statistics, one in four people will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives. From this perspective, authors Gill Hasson and Donna Butler use real case studies to examine changing workplace environments for improved wellbeing, shifting employer and employee attitudes on mental health, possible solutions to current and future challenges and more. 

In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts

By Gabor Maté



Dr Gabor Maté is one of the world's most revered thinkers on the psychology of addiction. His radical findings - based on decades of work with patients challenged by catastrophic drug addiction and mental illness - are reframing how we view all human development.

Here, Maté takes a holistic and compassionate approach to addiction, whether to alcohol, drugs, sex, money, or anything self-destructive. He presents it not as a discrete phenomenon confined to a weak-willed few, but as a continuum that runs through (and even underpins) our society. 

Scattered Minds : A New Look At The Origins And Healing Of Attention Deficit Disorder 

By Gabor Maté



This book explores the myth of attention deficit disorder as genetically based - and offers real hope and advice for children and adults who live with the condition. Maté is a revered physician and expert in neurology, psychiatry, and psychology with ADD. 

His book aims to show how ADD is not an inherited illness, but a reversible impairment and developmental delay. 

Overcoming Perfectionism 2nd Edition : A Self-Help Guide Using Scientifically Supported Cognitive Behavioural Techniques

By Roz Shafran, Sarah Egan, and Tracey D. Wade



Striving for something can be a healthy and positive attribute; it's good to aim high. But sometimes whatever we do just isn't good enough; we want to be too perfect and start setting unrealistic goals. Such high levels of perfectionism, often driven by low self-esteem, can turn against success. 

This guide aims to highlight effective coping strategies alongside clinically proven techniques to overcome these concerns and challenges. 

How To Stop Overthinking : The 7-Step Plan To Control And Eliminate Negative Thoughts, Declutter Your Mind And Start Thinking Positively In 5 Minutes Or Less 

By Chase Hill and Scott Sharp



This book aims to explore the best ways to deal with fears, anxiety and to stop overthinking for good.

The tips and advice include the best ways to prevent worrying, sleep better, develop self-confidence and decision-making skills alongside removing toxicity from any relationships. 

Toward A Psychology Of Awakening : Buddhism, Psychotherapy, And The Path Of Personal And Spiritual Transformation

By John Welwood



This book is a guide to understanding the relationship between Western psychology and the contemplative spirituality of the East - and how one’s spiritual journey can be enriched by both. 

Welwood looks to connect the spiritual realisations of Buddhism with the psychological insights of the West to develop an innovative approach to health, healing and spirituality. 

Mindfulness : A Practical Guide To Finding Peace In A Frantic World 

By Danny Penman and J. Mark G. Williams



This book reveals a set of simple yet powerful practices that can be incorporated into daily life to help break the cycle of unhappiness, stress, anxiety and mental exhaustion and promote genuine joie de vivre.

This uses Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), a clinically proven and straightforward form of mindfulness meditation that can help support people with the demands of the modern world.

It's precisely focused to help ordinary people boost their happiness and confidence levels whilst also reducing anxiety, stress and irritability.

The Body Keeps The Score : Mind, Brain And Body In The Transformation Of Trauma 

By Bessel van der Kolk



What causes people to continually relive what they most want to forget, and what treatments could help restore them to a life with purpose and joy?

Here, Dr Bessel van der Kolk offers a new paradigm for effectively treating traumatic stress using stories of his own research and that of specialists around the world.

Take the first steps in your music career with ICMP

We've been developing and delivering contemporary music education for over 30 years – longer than any other music school in the UK. With a proven track-record, countless music industry connections and unrivalled access to facilities, it's easy to see why hundreds of students choose ICMP each year. 

To completely immerse yourself in your music career, chat with our friendly Admissions Team via email enquiries@icmp.ac.uk or give them a call on 020 7328 0222.

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by ICMP staff writer
May 9, 2024
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