If you are an avid music lover like myself, you most likely woke up this morning with a song floating around in your mind. That song followed you through your daily routines, rolling around in your head like the apple in your lunch bag, causing you to hum along and maybe even dance a bit while accomplishing your goals for the day. While not everyone has the same song that they consider “pump up music” in their life, the idea that music can improve your mood and be a catalyst for people in their daily lives is important to acknowledge.
According to an article on NPR about a new book called The Power of Music, the author Elena Mannes “sees so much potential in music’s power to change the brain and affect the way it works.” From that perspective, music can be anything from a life-changer for stroke victims to a daily remedy for the average person suffering a bad day. The sounds of singing and instruments, no matter the genre, have the effect of medicine on an ailing brain in times of need. The tunes can range from slow jams to fast-paced anthems or classical pieces, but it ends up being the general melody and placement of lyrics that triggers memories and feelings associated with emotional growth. The knowledge of sounds, whether they be the natural rhythms of the heart or the pounding beat of an r&b song, can be detected as early as in the womb. Music is ingrained in our lives even prior to our birth, which gives strong validation to the idea that listening to the sounds around us is good for our health!
While this book is mostly associated with the affects of music therapy on patients with serious ailments, people with every day problems in love, family, or work can relate to music bringing uplift and restorative properties into their lives. After a long day caring for the children or sitting in an office cubicle, listening to a popular song from the radio or turning on your iPod to your favorite song can be a therapeutic and often leave more positive feelings in its wake. From personal experience, music has been both the optimistic friend that cheers you up and the “Debbie Downer” that helps me revel in my negative emotions. Both of these uses can be have a purposeful outcome in that when you need that emotional release, sad music can be a good coping mechanism, but when positivity is in order, there is always a crutch for that arm. It depends on what you are looking for from the music that you are listening to, as different moods bring varying degrees of needs. The improvement of health from putting on your headphones and feeling free from the strains of every day life is one of the strongest unifying properties of the listening experience, as people from all walks of life can experience the strong emotional value of music.
Music is powerful in that with its melodic and healing properties, health can improve based on immersing oneself in your favorite song on your iPod or waking up to a song floating around in your head. The musical experience surpasses cultural or generational boundaries, therefore, it already has strong effects on the way people live. The instruments, lyrics, and voices of the performers are all very ingrained in human connection, therefore, bringing music therapy to light as having a strong effect on health is a powerful step in the right direction. As health becomes a main concern in the aging process, music can have the power to uplift, add passion, and center your life. Turn up your music and enjoy the vitality that your favorite song brings you!