The powers of music such as the ability to suppress pain and effortlessly alter one’s emotions are endless. For years, music has been able to leave an impact on the brain and has been going on since the very beginning. Whether it has been used in ceremonies or for one’s enjoyment, people are surrounded by music every day. Not only are the powers of music numerous, but as well as the benefits that come while listening to it. It provides underlying benefits that can be essential to people’s well-being and social life. Listening to music is an essential part of one’s communication skills and mental well-being because it can help cope with different challenges, express oneself more easily, sharpen language skills, and improve one’s emotions.
The benefits of music listening are often overlooked and seen as only for entertainment. However, music is powerful enough to cope with facing difficult challenges. In the article, “This is your brain on music,” Elizabeth Landau, explains how music has physiological benefits and helps improve mental conditions such as anxiety or depression. To treat these kinds of mental conditions, people usually opt for prescription drugs to treat it. However, “the promise here is that music is arguably less expensive than drugs, and it's easier on the body and it doesn't have side effects” (Levitin 3). Even though it may seem unlikely for music to replace prescription drugs, it can be a viable substitute to avoid potentially harmful side effects from prescription drugs. Music can not only help improve one’s mental conditions, but it can also help control pain levels. According to the article, “Music and the Brain” by Luke Glowacki, music can help control and change the brain in beneficial ways. Similar to how music can help improve mental conditions, music can also be a remedy for physical pain. Music can be “...powerful enough to control the intensity of the discomfort being experienced when an injury occurs music allows us to bridge the gap between realities when the brain encounters it at any level” (6). Even though music can’t completely get rid of physical pain, it can help distract the brain from any level of pain which proves how powerful music can be. Ultimately, music can be powerful enough to treat pain whether it is mental or physical pain.
Not only can music be used as remedies to mental or physical pain, but it can be another way to express emotions and thoughts. For many years, music was used to bring out emotions in others and send a message to them. In the article, “Music And The Brain,” the author, Norman M. Weinberger, explains how people’s brains react to different kinds of music, such as music that composers write to send an underlying message. Language is the basic way people communicate with each other but music is another way of expressing oneself. Music and language “...both are a means of communication, and each has a syntax, a set of rules that govern the proper combination of elements (notes and words, respectively)” (6). Just like language, music can evoke many different emotions that one can interpret. This makes it so a composer who purposely writes a sad song can express his sadness without even needing to use language. Also, “...music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music” (Billy Joel). Not only is music able to express language without words, but it is also more powerful than language itself. Words can be harmful and misinterpreted the wrong way, but music can be interpreted from many perspectives without being misinterpreted as offensive. This demonstrates how music can be another way to express language but in a stronger way.
Since music and language play similar roles in the brain, listening to music more often can make the brain sharper and further develop language skills. In the article, “Making Music Boosts Brain's Language Skills,” the author, Victoria Jaggard, explains how patients with language deficits improved their language skills through music. Patients with language deficits who had not gone through therapy, “... responded to questions with largely incoherent sounds and phrases. But after just a few minutes with therapists, who asked them to sing phrases and tap their hands to the rhythm, the patients could sing 'Happy Birthday,' recite their addresses, and communicate if they were thirsty” (15). This demonstrates that music does largely affect the brain’s language skills and helps improve it further just by simply listening to it. Despite patients having an incredibly hard time reciting full sentences, through music, they can pull through and ignore their language deficits. Similar to patients with language difficulties, “... children exposed to music tested higher on verbal IQ tests involving word recall, information analyzation, and language-based reasoning” (Glowaki 6). Not only does music help restore language skills that were once impaired, but it can help develop it further for individuals with no language difficulties. The impact music can have on the brain is big and is prevalent in people who listen to it often.
Music can control one’s emotional state and well-being. Depending on the feel of the music, it can be either beneficial or somewhat damaging to someone’s mental health. In the article, “You Asked: Is Listening to Music Good For Your Health?” the author, Markham Heid discusses the effect of music on someone’s mental health. Presumably, music is supposed to improve one’s mental state, but he believes that it can be damaging to it. He states that “the wrong music can promote rumination or other unhelpful mental states. One 2015 study from Finland found that music can bolster negative emotions—like anger, aggression or sadness—much the same way it can counteract these feelings” (5). Music can control one’s mental state in a negative way, but that is because the music was composed to intend to. Music that makes people feel sad or angry, would usually be placed in movie scenes where it’s supposed to make someone sad. One can simply avoid listening to sad music to help avoid the risk of degrading their mental health. Similar to how sad music can damage one’s mental state, other types of music can easily be extremely beneficial. “Listening to your favorite songs can be just as beneficial as a 30-minute massage can be at relieving worry and anxiety. This benefit occurs because blood flow becomes more efficient and the mind clears itself of all the “what if” scenarios that it has been considering” (Glowaki 5). Music can easily control someone’s emotional state, especially since it can be as relieving as physical therapy, such as getting a massage. Ultimately, the cons of listening to music can be easily avoided by not listening to the wrong music and listening to the right ones.
In conclusion, music is necessary to have in one’s life to help face upcoming challenges, communicate with others better by expressing oneself through music, sharpen communication skills, and improve one’s mental state. The benefits of music are countless and provide others with a source of entertainment that can be appreciated by many. People such as composers who have trouble communicating with others are easily able to use music to express themselves clearly. People who face difficult challenges can utilize music to push through the challenges. Music is not only a form of art but a way to improve life overall.
- Jaggard, Victoria. “Making Music Boosts Brain's Language Skills.” National Geographic, 4 Feb. 2017, www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/2/100220-music-brains-language-stroke-dyslexia/.
- Landau, Elizabeth. “This Is Your Brain on Music.” CNN, Cable News Network, 23 Jan. 2018, www.cnn.com/2013/04/15/health/brain-music-research/index.html.
- Glowacki, Luke. “Music and the Brain” Thrive Global, 14 July 2019, thriveglobal.com/stories/music-and-brain/.
- Weinberger, Norman M. “Music And The Brain.” Scientific American, 1 Sept. 2006, www.scientificamerican.com/article/music-and-the-brain-2006-09/.
Cite this Essay
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below