Music is an art form that touches us on the most basic level of our humanity…
In technical terms, it is defined as ‘organised noise’ but it is so much more than that. There’s more than meets the ear, I suppose I could say. In the words of the philosopher Plato, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and charm and gaiety to life and to everything”.
And Plato was definitely onto something.
So often, when we hear music, something happens: something about it touches us inside, stirs our emotions and captures our imaginations, making a deep connection that can’t always quite be explained. Regardless of whether you know the song, whether it has lyrics or whether you have any sort of theoretical knowledge of music, it begs a reaction from you: causing you to smile or cry, scream or sing…or even keep you up at night, tearing your hair out as you toss and turn.
Music is an art form that touches us on the most basic level of our humanity, targeting our hearts and our heads and impacting all of our being; mentally, emotionally, physically and socially, all amazingly through the simple registration of the sound.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine”, but music truly is the best ‘natural’ remedy for improving our health and wellbeing. A revolutionary study conducted by the Queen’s University of Belfast last year, proved that music can have extremely beneficial impacts on young people suffering from movement, mental and behavioural difficulties. Through ‘music therapy’- that is simply listening to positive music- patients found themselves in a more confident state of mind, reducing depression and creating a mind set that allowed them to tackle their physical and emotional problems more effectively. Music can also treat and prevent stress associated with heart disease and whilst in the womb, classical music drastically improves the brain and mind development of unborn babies, through creating complex connections between neurons in their young brains.
Again, let me paraphrase Plato, “Music gives soul to the universe”. It seems there is validity in this, as music doesn’t just affect and benefit us. The common experiment of testing how plants react to different genres of music shows that music also physically impacts the development and wellbeing of nature. Classical music, which for most of us, relaxes and calms, encourages growth in plants, compared to the violent bellows of rock music, which seem to stunt plant growth. Different sounds: peaceful or disruptive, major or minor, can have strong influences on our mood and state of being.
From my personal experience as a violinist, I have seen first-hand how strongly music can effect myself and others around me. Practicing at it can annoy me, stress me and cause me to hate it at times…yet when feeling the music, having it flow through your fingers, your emotions communicated through sound, I can see how emotionally and spiritually gratifying music can be.
For example, how many of us have lost a good portion of our night’s sleep just because a song stuck in our head left us going crazy?
However, as with everything in life, music also has a dark side depending on how we react to it. Contrastingly, the sound of music has potential to worsen our mood, inspire actions and feelings of corruption, violence and rebellion, and to bring about harmful emotions such as resentment, sadness, and stress. There are many aspects of music that can onset these things but something as simple as its’ melody can cause these detrimental effects. For example, how many of us have lost a good portion of our night’s sleep just because a song stuck in our head left us going crazy?
Additionally, I’m sure if any one of you turned the radio on now, the modern music you would hear, would no doubt have it’s focus on a negative or destructive theme, or would at least contain innuendos alluding to sinful activities.
Subliminal messaging, particularly prominent in today’s music industry is also promoting negative actions and feelings of lust, violence and abuse. The music of today can brainwash us into having certain views and ideas without our consent.
This dark side of music often overshadows it’s bright side. Though there is still good in it, it seems just like the world itself now a-days, that music too is evolving and coming to reflect a continuous trend of corruption and negativity. The positive feelings we have when we hear music are now being associated with sinful themes and the impacts are becoming less positive and more harmful with each new corrupt song that musicians and artists are feeding into our open ears.
This is a very sad fact because, as I have examined, music has the potential to do so much good in our world and to help and benefit so many people. Yet, by highlighting this issue of negative music, I hope it can make us more aware of how powerful music is and how much influence it holds over us as human beings.
The sound of music can give a meaning to our lives or take it away, open our minds or close them; all we need to do is hear it.