Many people who play instruments in which you have to be classically trained play music from an incredibly young age- about three or four, or as soon as they are truly able to hold instruments within their hands. Others play instruments more as a hobby- picking up a guitar for the first time around age ten or twelve, learning chords and playing by the fire on a camping trip. Of course, there is a wide variety of talent in between, with people of all ages learning to play and appreciate music in new ways.
Not only do those who play music enjoy it, and let it impact their lives, but also everyone who hears music. You don’t believe that? Consider that if you were to type anything into a music provider like Spotify, from an emotion (happy, sad, angry, etc.) to a situation (study, zoom class, dinner) you would get tens or hundreds of playlists to come up.
Music impacts our lives more than just setting the mood for an event or being another extracurricular for a college application. It also has many benefits that have been documented in the scientific community. The American Psychological Association, in an article they released in 2013, described a study done in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) of hospitals, which proved that out of three different music instruments or types of music, singing most calmed and slowed the heartbeats of the babies.
Another example documented in the same article showed that children getting IV needles (intravenous needles) placed were much calmer when listening to music, compared to the children that had no music at all.
Music can be found everywhere. If you only have the ear for it, the train bustling down the tracks during English class could create an interesting rhythm. Maybe you are walking down the street, and you suddenly hear the steady beat of another persons feet. Whatever you are hearing, even a heartbeat, can be turned into music with a little bit of imagination.
This same music, however, has a daily emotional and psychological impact on those around us.
“It helps put into words emotions I’m feeling,” said sophomore Mande Puente.
“Music is very cathartic,” said sophomore Rinzen Lim.
“The combination of rhythms and melodies helped me figure out what my internal tempo is,” said senior Jacob Tashijan.
Whether a premature baby residing in the NICU, or a high school student growing tired of "Zooming" into class, music has a sincere effects ranging from helping us maintain good health to helping voice parts of our personality too personal or vulnerable to put into words ourselves.
Music can be controversial, but it can also bring people together. National anthems unify countries on holidays, or even unify sports teams at the beginning of games. However, the running theme with both the controversy and the unifications is that music can cause people to allow music to move them- to make them feel something.
You could easily turn off the radio or press skip on Spotify every time a certain song that bothers you begins playing, but maybe you should stop to consider why it bothers you. Listen to the lyrics, find the rhythm and look for the inner meaning. Music, whether its instrumental, rap, theater or any other genre, has the power to both impact and move you, but you have to let it.
Who knows? Maybe after knowing what music has the power to do, the song that bothered you last time you heard it is now at least decent enough to listen to.
Sophomore Charlotte Burks is the first guest writer to publish content on The Red and Blue. If you would like to take part in this amazing opportunity to share your thoughts and words with the SJM community, email email@example.com with your ideas!