This little exercise is not a substitute for professional help; it is only designed to help you decide whether music therapy could be helpful to you. If you don’t see any changes or if you mood worsens, please contact your healthcare professional.

1- Create a 2-point mood rating scale which shows your current mood on one end and the intended mood on the other

 EX: Depression  ——————————–Hopefulness.

2-Add descriptive terms for what each mood signifies to you.

 EX: Depression = hopeless, sad, why bother, …     

        Hopefulness = optimistic, more energy, anything is possible, …

3- Using this same scale, add your musical playlist as such: Music/songs that feel depressive to you will be added on top of the word Depression in your scale. Music/songs that feel uplifting, energizing, will be added on top of the word Hopeless in your scale

 For example:

Killing Me Softly  (Fugees)                                              Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (Marvin Gaye)                       

Depression                                                                            Hopefulness

hopeless, sad, why bother                                optimistic, more energy, anything is possible

 4- Depression and hopefulness are at both end of the spectrum, now add music in between that will help bridge these two emotions. Choose songs that feel gradually uplifting. This is purely subjective, only you can decide that. For example;

Killing Me Softly (Fugees)…. Luka (Suzanne Vega)….. Stand by Me (Ben E King)…. This Kiss (Faith Hill)…etc,…Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (Marvin Gaye)

Tip: try working on that list with someone else to help you gage the valence (positive or negative) of the musical piece, especially for those songs that will help you elevate your mood. Your current mood might disrupt your ability to choose the right pieces.

Tip: ONLY choose music that you like, don’t force yourself to pick a song just because it is uplifting. That may require you to look back into your life and try to remember what music you used to like.

 5-  Play your songs in the order in which you organized them and after each song ended, check your mood scale and put a check mark on the scale to reflect where between the two emotions your mood stand. Put numbers to help you rate your mood going up. For example, depression is 1 and Hopefulness is 10, 2 to 9 reflects the moods in between.

Repeat as often as needed.


Heiderscheit, A., & Madson, A.T. (2015). Use of the Iso Principle as a Central Method in Mood Management: A Music Psychotherapy Clinical Case Study. Music Therapy Perspectives, 33, 45-52