Music is powerful and transformative. It can mend a broken heart, find the right words paired exactly with the right feeling, soothe us, sort us out, and make us dance, laugh, and cry. Playing the right song at just the right moment is an elixir, conjuring the smile, tears, or toe tap needed for transcendence or, more simply, contentment.
Award-winning Canadian music therapist, author and speaker Jennifer Buchanan knows this well, which is why she’s urging the Power of a Playlist for 2023 – and particularly in the realm of the workplace, which has seen tumult and transition in these years during and post-pandemic. In her book Wellness, Wellplayed: The Power of the Playlist, as well as her live lecture series in conjunction with Studio Bell, Buchanan shares both how and why creating a carefully curated, mindfully selected playlist can be an important, positive step towards better productivity and mental health.
“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 okay.”
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 in Wellness Wellplayed, the Calgary-based author, entrepreneur, and coach wastes no time harnessing her leading expertise as a Certified Music Therapist (MTA) to guide readers through building their own thoughtfully compiled playlists – and why they should.
Buchanan’s book was a launch point for explaining how to create mindfulness in the art and science of playlist-making, and her seven-part drop-in lecture series this past year in conjunction with Studio Bell gave users a collaborative, one-on-one approach to crafting playlists tailored to their unique needs. The condensed video series (available at https://amplify.nmc.ca/watch/power-of-the-playlist/) addresses topics such as the meaning of the mixtape, the art and science of music, how to use mixtapes for motivation, how to use mixtapes to jog memory, and how to use mixtapes to boost your mood.
In 2023, Buchanan is available for speaker engagements across the country, and she’s particularly passionate about harnessing the Power of a Playlist for better workplace wellness and productivity. “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.”
The author of two award-winning books – Tune In (2nd Ed, 2020), and Wellness Incorporated (2019) – as well as a children’s sing-a-long 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. A multi-nominee for the Calgary Chamber of Commerce’s Community Impact Award, she holds an MBA specializing in social entrepreneurship in addition to her MTA, and has been featured in numerous media outlets, including The Guardian, Huffington Post, and The Globe and Mail.