Music is Life

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by Brian Chicoine


COVER PHOTO Music Staff pic Photo Credit PVProductions via FreePik
Volumetric musical background with a treble clef and notes, the concept of musical creativity. PVProductions-via-FreePik

Music touches us emotionally, where words alone can’tJohnny Depp


Screen Shot 2015 11 013I was listening to ’80s and some ’90s music the other day, (which I often do, as I believe the best music decade is the ’80s. The ’90s also had some great music…and of course, there are other decades that had some good music, but the greatest amount of awesome music came from the ‘80s). 

Anyhow, I was listening and talking to my wife about different things with each song, much of these things were emotional feelings or life-stage events. I was both a live and radio DJ during the late ’80s and ’90s so played many of the songs. (I sometimes find it cool that I played some of the artists when they were just starting…when they were considered new…some of which hadn’t hit the “mainstream” yet).  

The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said, “Without music, life would be a mistake.” Although I am not sure that life would be a total mistake without music, I do love it and have very strong feelings for it, so I think that without music, life would totally stink, (but that is my quote…not Nietzsche’s). 

Aside from the pure feelings of love and joy that music can bring, there are many benefits to it. I decided to highlight some of these benefits.

The Rythm of Music Sooths the Soul Photo Credit PVProductions via FreePik
The rhythm of music soothes the soul. Photo-Credit-PVProductions-via-FreePik

Psychological Benefits

Music has been shown to enhance cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. Studies have found that children exposed to music education display improved verbal memory and reading skills compared to their peers. In addition, music-making activities like playing an instrument can increase neural activity and promote brain plasticity, leading to enhanced cognitive capabilities across all age groups.

Stress Reduction and Mental Health

Listening to music can significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels in individuals. The soothing properties of music trigger the release of stress-reducing hormones and decrease cortisol levels, a stress marker in the body. Furthermore, music therapy is increasingly used as a complementary treatment for various mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD, offering a non-verbal outlet for emotions and a tool for emotional regulation. (As you may know, I have previously written about music therapy).

Emotional Benefits

Mood Enhancement

Music has a profound impact on our emotional state and can effectively enhance our mood. Upbeat and cheerful music can boost happiness and vitality, while slow, calming tunes can help soothe and relax the mind. The ability to select music based on our emotional needs and preferences allows for a personalized therapeutic experience.

Emotional Expression and Processing

Music offers a unique avenue for expressing and processing emotions. It can serve as a reflection of our innermost feelings, helping us understand and articulate emotions that might be difficult to express through words alone. 

Overcoming Ilsolation by Enjoying Music Together Photo Credit Drazen Zigic via FreePik
Overcoming isolation by enjoying music together. Photo/Drazen-Zigic via FreePik

Social Benefits

Strengthening Connections

Music has the power to bring people together, fostering social bonds and shared experiences. Whether it’s through singing together, attending concerts, or simply sharing playlists, music creates a sense of unity and belonging among people. This communal aspect of music can combat feelings of isolation and loneliness, contributing to a more connected and supportive social network.

Cultural Identity and Awareness

Music is a reflection of cultural heritage and identity, offering insights into the traditions, values, and histories of different communities. Through music, people can celebrate their own cultural backgrounds while also exploring and appreciating the diversity of the world’s cultures. 

Physical Benefits

Physical Health and Exercise

Listening to music can enhance physical performance and motivation during exercise, making workouts more enjoyable and effective. The rhythm and tempo of music can influence our pace and endurance, helping us achieve better results in physical activities. Additionally, music has been associated with improved immune system function and pain management, showcasing its potential to contribute to overall physical health.

Rehabilitation and Therapy

As previously mentioned, music therapy is utilized in various medical settings to aid in the rehabilitation of patients recovering from surgery, stroke, and as a complementary treatment for various mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD. The therapeutic use of music can improve motor skills, coordination, and cognitive functions in patients, facilitating a more efficient and enjoyable recovery process.

Playing an Instrument is Beneficial Photo Credit FreePik
Playing an Instrument is Beneficial. Photo/FreePik

Conclusion

The benefits of music are vast and varied, touching every aspect of human life. From enhancing cognitive abilities and emotional well-being to fostering social connections and improving physical health, music offers a universal language that speaks to the heart and mind in equal measure. As research continues to uncover the numerous ways in which music benefits humanity, it becomes increasingly clear that music is not just an art form but a vital component of a healthy, fulfilling life. Engaging with music, whether as a listener, performer, or creator, provides great opportunities for enrichment, connection, and joy.

Now that I have finished, I can turn off my musical playlist. 

As always, feel free to email me at bchicoinemht@gmail.com with any comments.


 

About this Author

Brian Chicoine

Brian Chicoine is a New Hampshire native who moved to Manchester from Raymond in 1980. While a student at Notre Dame College here in Manchester, Brian transferred to Rhode Island College in Providence, where he met his now wife, Jackie. Brian and Jackie spent the next 20 years living in Providence and Manchester, returning to Manchester with their two sons, (who are proud Manchester natives), in the fall of 2017. He and his family intend on staying in Manchester and are committed to helping make it an even better place to live, work, and play.