The Power of Music
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the beauty and power of music. It has this incredible ability to bring people together, elicit emotions, be a creative outlet and is extremely effective in relieving stress. International stress awareness week falls on the first week of November each year and aims to raise awareness about stress prevention and reduce the stigmas often related with mental health issues. Researchers at Stanford University (Saarman, 2006) have said that music is an extremely effective stress reduction tool and that “listening to music seems to be able to change the brain functioning to the same extent as medication”
Music has always been a huge part of my life. When I was four, I started taking piano lessons and I fell in love with musical theory. I was never good at learning languages, but something about being able to read notations on a piece of paper and know exactly what my fingers should do to translate it into sound was so enamoring to me. As I got older I branched out to other instruments and started training my voice as well. I discovered that singing was really my passion and that instruments were a tool I could use to support my singing. In middle school and high school I learned how to record songs and had the best time writing and making covers of my favourite music. It was and still is to this day my creative escape. Stress is a feeling I am no stranger to, and music has been by my side from some of my earliest memories.
Because music has been such a big part of my life, I was curious to know how it impacted the people around me. I asked some of my friends and family what music means to them and why they enjoy it. I also asked them to share their favorite songs! Here were some of their responses.
“My dad used to play music around the house literally 24/7. So I guess it just reminds me of him and how much he loves to hear it. Because it was on all the time he would sort of dance around the house a lot and it always made us laugh and have a good time. I think music reminds me of really positive and happy times so I love that it has the power to put me in a good mood”
- Favorite song: God Only Knows, Beach Boys
“I think I like the nostalgia of it. It’s cool how you can listen to a song you haven’t heard in years and then you are immediately transported to a time or place or even feeling when you listened to it. I think that’s sort of magical in a way.”
- Favorite song: Dancing Queen, ABBA
“It’s always been very therapeutic for me. Especially singing in choir with other people, I feel like it is a place to relax and decompress. And where you can check out from the world around you for a while. I think it also brings people together which is really beautiful. I love the comradery that comes from working on a big choir song with a bunch of different people and seeing how all the different parts come together to make something beautiful.”
- Favorite song: Harvest Moon, Neil Young
“I’m not a super musical person, but I love to use music to hype myself up and get excited for the day or pumped for something. I could be feeling really down, but then I’ll put on my favorite song and be good to go by the time it’s over. It’s almost like it snaps you back to reality and gets you out of your head for a while. I can’t think of anything else that does that for me.”
- Favorite song: Power, Kanye West
Did you know that there are only 171,476 words in the English language according to the Oxford dictionary? On top of that, there are only 12 musical notes! How incredible is it that we have been able to create so much beautiful music just by putting together different combinations of those words and 12 notes? So as I sit here writing this, listening to a playlist filled with my favorite songs, I am smiling. Smiling because of this wonderful gift of music we have all been given.
*Meet the Author*
Favorite Quote: “Take your time, don’t move too fast, troubles come and they will pass” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Fun Facts: 1) I grew up overseas in 7 different countries 2) I love music and love to sing 3) I can play 5 instruments!