Music, as a pattern of sounds, has a huge influence on the mood and well-being of a person. Even animals and plants can be calmed or excited by the sound. Some tunes can help us relax, other cheer us up. Some of the musical compositions we like almost instinctively, others aren’t as pleasant to us but may fascinate someone else. In any case, there are a few people completely indifferent to the music.
Music appears in our life long before we are actually born. Our first “tune” is a beating of mother’s heart, rhythmic and soothing. Some psychologists claim that our love for rhythm and music emerges from this prenatal experience as a try to recreate it. The second our song is a lullaby, often wordless, sung for us by mother or grandma. Often, the only thing from the infancy people remember is the tune of a lullaby. We can start singing to our kids the family lullaby without even knowing it is one.
Writing an essay about music in my life, I guess I should start from the very beginning. My own first experience was also a lullaby. It was a good tradition for my mom and me: she sang it to me every night, no matter what. It reassured me a lot and, of course, it was the foundation for my good attitude to music in general. Then there were musical performances and plays in school, favourite songs from cartoons and radio plays, and, of course, first teenage idols and a Garage Band That Definitely Will Achieve Success (after all these years I’m almost not ashamed of the noise we produced with our distorted guitars and less-than-perfect microphones).
My taste naturally changed with my age. I went through pop music, rock, black, death and doom metal (the bleaker and louder the better). Then my preferences turned to the opposite direction and I was ready to give away all my pocket money for the records of the famous rappers. Sometimes it was reggae, sometimes classical music, or just popular songs from radio channels I couldn’t stop humming. Now it depends much on my emotional state or whether I want to dance or meditate or vent my anger. But all the time it seems to me that without music my world would be much less perfect and colder. The visual beauty means nothing without mood and context and music for me is both mood and context. Maybe I’m just an audial, a person whose perception is mostly based on hearing, not sight. Or I’m too dependant on emotions.
But music isn’t only a response to my current mood and emotions. It can be used proactively, “hacking” my mood and turning it to whichever I want. When I feel sad I can turn on some simple, funny and popular song that will become an earworm, cheering me up. Or – I love this example most of all – when I go jogging, I usually download one special “power song” to my phone. It works as a stamina boost for me: when I feel exhausted I simply turn it on and my legs start moving in the new, faster rhythm by themselves and the words of the song encourage me to make this greatest feat and finish my daily distance. Like in the gym, but much more personalized.
The one interest that never changed is my love for classical music. There is something universally perfect in it. The sound of violin and piano awakes mixed bittersweet feelings in my soul. I can burst in tears of happiness and sorrow simultaneously, feeling like I’ve just saw the Heaven and now miss it back on Earth. The classical music has the ability to touch something deeply hidden inside our souls, it’s like a miracle that cleans you inside. Of course I understand that even the greatest masterpieces are made by the living people, not some angels. But the way the composers transferred their emotions to the music sheets, reflecting their world and experience, marvels me so much.
In my opinion, music is a special kind of art that opens up a whole world of passion and emotions, high feelings and impulses. We can use the picture to say something literally: e.g. a landscape, a portrait etc. But the music is the most abstract of the arts where we have only metaphors to deliver our message without a single word. It makes people spiritually rich making them think and invent their own senses for the melody. The talented musicians can make you feel sadness or joy, happiness or frustration, “see” the landscapes and portraits and understand the whole unwritten stories.
If we combine the music with words, creating a song, we add another dimension to our story, turning it from the abstract whirlwind of feelings to something more materials. It is hard to sing a symphony, but mostly we can recreate a song, transferring it to someone else or just humming it, reminding to ourselves that we know such a wonderful piece of art.
Music in my life is the necessary stimulus that helps to achieve the goals I set. It is a constant guide and a skilled healer of emotional wounds. Every morning for me starts with a cheerful song – it makes my alarm clock much more bearable. When I come home after a harsh day I spend some time to find something new amongst the records, check out the playlists of my favourite singers and musicians or just carefully examine my old library in search of something forgotten but still great. My playlist is my autobiography, every record in it has its own event from my life connected to it and its own unique emotional pattern. So, I’m not just listening to the music – in a certain way I’m listening to myself.
- The Role of Music in Human Culture – Thought Economics
- The Importance of Music in Our Daily Lives
- Music: Its Role, Qualities, and Influence – Web site