When we feel blue, we have hard times or simply have no mood at all we are often alone, with no person around to share our feelings (or the lack of feelings). Our body demands a splash of emotions, a way to vent our feelings or some source of life energy in the same manner it demands food or rest. This is the time for us to turn on our favourite music. The power of music is almost magical: at first you just listen to it, then you start singing along and nodding to the beat. Gradually you let go of yourself, your spirit lifts and you feel the long-awaited relief. The healing power of music in action! And this power is indeed colossal.
Since ancient times our ancestors loved to sing and play all sorts of musical instruments during almost every activity in their lives. They worked hard and the song always cheered them up, helped them to concentrate and hold a steady rhythm. Music helped to relax when they were in pain or achieve a trance-like state, simply improve the mood or help express the emotions. The most important texts were turned into songs and memorized to be passed from generation to generation unchanged.
Even now many clinics around the world use music to hasten the healing of the patients. Music is heard even in the greeneries, because plants also “love” it, growing faster and healthier with the right tune. And, of course, there are still a lot of ritual tunes: from the anthems of the countries to the wedding hymns and mourning melodies on funerals. Music is almost the best way to transfer and preserve emotions (the best is now considered smell, but smell is much harder to preserve and recreate than sound).
Music doesn’t only lift the mood: it is your universal friend and therapist ready to share with you the moments of sadness or joy. It cheerfully wakes you up in the morning and soothes you in the end of the day. But these are only few of the unlimited healing possibilities of the music. Lots of dissertations and articles were written about them but people are just starting to understand what treasure they have. Scientists have already proven that music can influence a person in a great way and sometimes it is subconscious. The role of music in the life and history of humankind is much more significant than we ever imagined.
Remember the tunes in your headphones when you returned from school, your playlist when you enrolled the university and the one you have now. After analyzing your periods of life you may realize that your perception of the world and the worldview itself have changed over time and the musical tastes also changed to reflect it. You may now tend to listen to something heavy or lyrical. But even the attitude to the same style of music can change with time. You may find irritating something you were incredibly fond of just a year before.
But despite the different preferences and attitudes of people towards the different music styles, the scientists established certain patterns of the influence of music to both mental and physical state of a person (or, taking it wider, a living being). It turns out that different musical styles, each in its own unique way, change our psychic and even our health level. However, the impact depends, first of all, on our emotional and psychic state at the time of listening to a certain melody. If the music matches the mood then it will have a positive impact. Vice versa is also true: if there is no harmony the effect will be negative. Sometimes we still can override our current mood with the one of the tune, but it demands the tune to be strongly imprinted in our subconscious and loaded with “right” emotions. Simply saying it should be your favourite one.
The perception of music is also influenced by the national and cultural identity of a person. You are more easily influenced with the rhythms and tunes familiar for your ears. Though exotic music can be pleasant, one can spend too much psychic resources to understand it and get used to it. It may cause mental exhaustion, slight, but strong enough to cause irritation, averting us from the actually good music.
Despite all of the above, the positive influence of music is much more prominent than negative one. It doesn’t depends only on style, rhythm or tonality. One of the most important thing is the instrument which is used to perform. The different instruments emanate sound waves of different shapes and have different effects on us. The melody that comes from the piano returns harmony to our souls, helps to normalize heartbeat and breathe calmer though benefitting our blood pressure (of course if the player is a professional musician and not the kid who just started practicing). Organ music is complicated for our perception, so it enhances our brain activity. Our body tries to process and understand such unusual and complicated sounds. The string instruments’ sounds are the closest to the human voice, so they make us feel compassion and empathy. That’s why street musicians love violins so much. Wind instruments have an interesting effect: they sound similar to whistling, so we start make the weak whistling moves subconsciously, clearing our lungs and bronchi. A percussion instruments (obviously) cheer us up, hastening our heartbeat and awakening our instinctive wish to move with the beat.
To conclude the importance of music essay we must agree that music is a great and mysterious treasure of incredible value in our life. The role of the music in human life can’t be underestimated. I feel incredibly grateful to all the musicians, composers and singers who participated in filling this treasury of the humankind.
- The Role of Music in Human Culture – Thought Economics
- The Role of Music in Today’s World – IRFI
- Music Makes Movies – Center for Digital Education