The role that music plays in our lives is more than significant. Music shapes cultural movements and unites people within generations. Due to biological or evolutionary reasons, people have assigned certain meaning to music and continue using it as a powerful instrument of influence and a tool for learning and development. The fact that people are drawn to music is worth exploring, and there has been some research on the topic.
Some theories suggest that, over the process of evolution, people have developed communication. Speech serves as its main instrument. However, many researchers believe that speech is something secondary to sounds and their sequences and combinations. Music here serves as a bridge between primitive cries, which can be observed as a communication means among animals, and human speech. Just like speech, music follows certain rules, has a structure, and is, somewhat, a language on its own.
The most fascinating characteristic of music is that it brings certain capacities of humans in close coordination with each other. There is more to music than just sound. It is also melody and rhythm, and often words. Thus, when people listen to music, they move along with it (motoric reaction), experience images, and feel emotions. Moreover, there is a significant social component in it.
It has been proved that music is related to creativity, and not only among artists. The lives of a number of geniuses, including Albert Einstein and Frank Lloyd Wright, confirm this. A number of innovators were involved with music in some way. For example, a physicist of Russian descent, Leo Theremin, apart from inventing sound alarm systems and a number of tools used in espionage, is best known for his invention of a theremin, a musical instrument that uses a magnetic field and which people can play without touching it. Great inventors, mathematicians, and physical theorists were drawn to music either seeking inspiration in it or being fascinated by the musical code.
A famous anthropologist Oliver Sacks called humans ‘musical species’, which implies that music can affect numerous aspects of human lives. Thus, through listening to music, people can manipulate their own emotions and psychological well-being, as well as become depressed after listening to certain pieces of music. It has been also found that clinical patients with untreatable conditions can improve their quality of life significantly, due to their engagement with music. Sacks himself studied patients with Alzheimer’s disease, their response to music and their feeling of ‘triumph’ as they found comfort in it.
Due to the impact that music can have on people’s lives, it can be used in various areas. Thus, as it was already mentioned before, music helps therapists and psychiatrists calm patients and empower them. Teachers use music as an educational tool which allows children and students to memorize the materials more effectively and in a certain context. Organizational managers can use music to inspire creativity in employees, so that they can be more spontaneous in finding solutions to a range of problems. There are innumerous applications of music that people can come up with. However, it should be remembered that music can serve both good purposes and be an instrument of mass manipulation.
- Benzon W. Beethoven’s Anvil: Music In Mind And Culture. Basic Books, 2001.
- Levitin DJ. This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession. Dutton Adult, 2006.
- Sacks O. Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, Revised and Expanded Edition. Vintage, 2008.
- Jordania J. Who Asked the First Question? The Origins of Human Choral Singing, Intelligence, Language and Speech. Logos, 2006.
- Wallin NL, Merker B, Brown S. The Origins of Music. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000.
- Hagen EH, Bryant GA. “Music and dance as a coalition signaling system.” Human Nature, 14 (1), 2003.
- Brown S. “The ‘Musilanguage’ Model of Music Evolution.” The Origins of Music. The MIT Press, 1999.
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Inspiration is a phenomenon with many variables. It is difficult to tell when it will come, arduous to predict when it will leave, yet it is a soulful feast nonetheless. When in the realm of inspiration, ordinary objects can seem phenomenal and the slightest details can be observed (Cannus 64). Inspiration is a wonderful state, as we are most productive and joyful when inspired. In a way, our whole life is searching for that particular state of inspiration we have come to call ecstasy. In this life-long race for the extraordinary to excite us, though, we sometimes get tired of searching. When life induces too much stress, too much noise, and too much rush, it is wondrous to put your headphones on, click play on your favorite playlist, and close your eyes, giving way to music.
The styles of music can vary greatly. It takes a discerning listener to classify a particular song, as it may have strains of several music trends. Besides trends, each culture produces its specific music. To me, music is more than just a way to relax and take a break. Music is my companion for life, my indicator of mood, my best adviser, and my own little world. I would never call music a hobby, as I cannot imagine my life without my favorite music. There is a playlist for when I am sad, for when I am happy, for when I am thoughtful, excited, angry, adventurous, or sleepy. Music helps me to cope with the emotions that I experience. Sometimes, music is a way to hide from everything and everyone. Other times, music is the best way to share my feelings with people I care about, or even with complete strangers. Music is the most inspirational phenomena I can think of for a multitude of reasons.
Music is a world of emotions and every time I hear a song I like, it shares some of these emotions with me. Music can bring up the most tender and anxious feelings. It can move you in time and space by bringing back special memories of which you were craving to relish. There were many cases when music sent shivers down my spine, so honest and strong were the tunes, so powerful the memories they awakened. I am sure it happened to everyone at least once, that a strong memory is somehow linked to a certain song or tune and whenever you hear it playing, you travel back to that situation in your thoughts, able to experience that it again (Connors 65). We sometimes forget how powerful music is and how inspirational its power can be.
In addition, music is able unite people like nothing else can (Poplars 45). Sports, mutual interests, and similar experiences can unite people in a substantial way. But what about those cases when people have nothing in common and are total strangers, yet they suddenly find themselves holding hands and singing along, dancing, or simply silently listening to captivating beats. Music is able to make complete strangers feel like they have connected to a kindred soul. If you have at least once been to a great live concert, you probably know what kind of inspiration I am talking about. It is difficult to describe this phenomenon with words, but is it not what proves again the power of music to inspire? You do not need to speak a foreign language to connect to somebody from a different background, using music instead of words. Music comes in handy in these cases. It inspired you to make new friends or learn more about a foreign culture.
Music is multi-dimensional—you can never get bored of it. While I have a number of favorite artists and bands, I also never stop exploring the musical amplitude and discovering new performers every day. Music adds flavor to my life and this flavor is different depending on “what dish I am eating.” Music can be so much more than an accompaniment—it is a full-fledged spice that can accentuate, muffle, or supplement any experience. If I were to leave for a deserted island and could only take a few items, my player and a couple of solar-charging batteries would be my choice. That way, I could adjust to the environment around me and find inspiration where others might find devastation and frustration.
Though music is nothing new, the creation of new melodies, rhythms, and symphonics will be created every day. In fact, I believe music has been around us for as long as we have existed (Lung 24). When I say that music is everywhere, I first of all mean that music comes from nature—the sound of crackling straw in the field, rustling trees in a grove, or the murmur of a fast mountain stream. Music in all of its forms is around us and the task is only to notice it and learn to appreciate how it can be shared. Music can be a source of inspiration for almost anyone, since it can be a unique key to suite any lock, even the most complicated and tenacious. Music has the power to make us want to smile at every stranger walking by, simply because we are hearing a transcendent song.
Cannus, Brian. Zen of Music. Brighton: Old Owl Press, 2012. Print.
Connors, Latasha. Musical Memories. Manchester: Random House, 2011. Print.
Poplars, Anna. Unification through Vibrations. New York: Penguin, 2008. Print.
Lung, Nicholas. Origin of Humankind is Music. Dallas: Vibrato Press, 2003. Print.
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