In- depth look into the effects of music on the mind.
The other day I heard a song on the radio. Instantly, my subconscious began preparing itself for a tear-jerking moment. I felt a shiver down my spine then the prickle of heat behind my eyes as if they were about to water. This was all before the musician even began singing. Realizing how spontaneous these overwhelming (and somewhat humiliating) emotions were, I began to take note of everything I was feeling throughout the song. The lyrics, still a contributor to how I was reacting, weren’t the most prominent aspect of the song in regards to how it was making me feel. It was the melody that grabbed at my heart and sent the shivers down my spine.
This got me thinking about how popular music is today, yet how little people pay mind to it. If I could guesstimate, less than 20% of the population that listen to music ever really stop to think how the song is affecting them and how their minds are processing it. And when people do take a moment to ponder a good song, they are usually focused on the lyrics instead of the tune.
Songs are used everyday, everywhere and all the time. They’re today’s biggest form of communication. You hear people calling in to radio stations and requesting songs for a loved one or see people proposing to their partners while having “their song” play in the background. Opera even uses song to act out scenarios and plays. And every song has the intention to trigger some sort of emotion. Music has taken over our minds, subliminally. Not that that is a bad thing, but a catchy tune didn’t just happen to come into your mind. Rather, it was made with the intent to do so.
Though it may not be too explicit, music has huge effects on people. For example: people with depression, and this is just from what I have heard, are triggered by songs that carry hurtful memories. With that said, the biggest coping method of depression is to listen to music. So, even though depression is brought on by music, music can also temporarily cure it. There’s many scenarios where music has been harmful, such as school shootings where students who have been listening to demented songs bring guns to school and kill people then themselves. There’s also scenarios where it’s been helpful such as during the early developments of childhood as well as during pregnancy. It’s said that when you place music up next to a woman’s pregnant belly that the baby can hear it and it calms it down.
I believe the best example of music in its finest is movies. When we watch movies we feel an array of emotion even after the movie is over. But is that just because of the characters and scenarios? No, that’s because of the songs that were playing to tell you what to feel and when to feel it. Let’s test this. Okay we take a scene from a movie where the director wants us to feel bad for the characters. Let’s say the love interests in this film are trying to find each other but keep missing each other by just a minute. So the guy goes into the building looking for the girl as she’s just leaving out of a different door. Put some sad music to that and we, the audience, relate to it and remember times where maybe we were just a second too late and we automatically feel bad for our characters. Now, take that music out and replace it with some comical silent movie tunes and now we’re laughing at the irony of the situation. See how music changed our feelings? The actors are the same, it’s the same story, but two completely different emotions.
Next time stop to think how music is effecting you and realize how much control it really has over your mind.