Music inspires people in different ways. John Lennon is famously quoted to have said: “Nothing affected me until I heard Elvis. Without Elvis, there would be no Beatles.” From my point of view, music is something that can be played and listened to in equal measure. Let us consider 8 ways that music can enhance our lives.
- Songs can remind us of the past. For instance, a tune from a certain decade can bring back a happy memory that then makes us smile in the present. An event such as a wedding can be considered a happy time. Typical wedding music is likely to be inspired by certain chosen lyrics that reflect the event. Be it what is played down the aisle, or at the after-party disco. Wagner’s Bridal Chorus “Here Comes The Bride” is traditional and what we can all associate with the ceremony itself, whereas Roy Orbison’s “Oh Pretty Woman” is something to describe the bride. In the groom’s eyes, at least. In Ed Sheeran’s eyes and lyrics it is: “Now I know I have met an angel in person / And she looks perfect / I don’t deserve this / You look perfect tonight.’
- Music can act as a distraction. This can, of course act in both ways, depending on the tune that is being listened to. Inappropriate lyrics one can imagine providing the worst distraction, with happy lyrics helping us to forget our woes and cheering us up.
- There is something in the expression “music while you work”. Interestingly, this was the title for a daytime radio programme which run between 23 June 1940 and 29 September 1967 on the BBC. Research has shown that music can act as something of a mood enhancer. At work, it is considered that music expands our capacity for problem-solving on a creative level, and even increases our level of productivity.
- Music can be relaxing. This would explain why the dental surgeon painstakingly checking every single tooth of mine, to see if it was loose, used to play classical music in the background. It was to put me at ease, not necessarily that he liked listening to it.
- The “Mozart Effect” is considered something which has many benefits. It relates to classical music not being distracting because of its lyrics, but instead, enlivening brain activity and acting as something of a catalyst for improvements in our health and well-being.
- Not finished with classical music, listening to musical compositions, such as Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”, has been claimed to aid a student performance in exams by 12 per cent or more. This, of course, only works if the listener can develop a liking for the style of music, which is not always to everyone’s taste. This may be explained by the untrained ear first listening to long compositions than only have one section of the famous and familiar melody. In relation to the exam, the student who has taken in the information better will be the one that can not only perform well in the exam, but feel more relaxed in knowing that they are fully prepared for any difficult question that they might face.
- From a performance viewpoint, music is a living to many people. Not just the famous performers who sing and play it, but for the background staff that are employed to produce the music for an album or help put on the concert. Even those that then write about it or teach it to others.
- Music Therapy is an area that can help various medical conditions such as autism, dementia and depression. Therapists trained to a high level in the subject have been able to achieve amazing results in this area. In the case of an autistic child, to hear them speak for the first time. With a dementia sufferer, who may not be able to remember what happened yesterday, allowing them to recall a tune from the past that they used to listen to whilst sharing a dance with their partner. Then, as music can enhance the mood at work, it can also be used in cases of depression to lift the spirits. Happy tunes and lyrics preferred here, of course.
With music able to offer all these benefits, it would be hard to think of a world without it. A silent world that lacked inspiration, memories, or any possibility of making things better when things got tough.
To end with a famous musical quotation from Beethoven:
“Music is like a dream. One that I cannot hear.”
Beethoven’s thought makes us feel so lucky to be the ones that can hear the music.