By Tori Custer
In a world where people are constantly divided by politics, language, and background, music provides a way to reach beyond these boundaries and unite people no matter who or where they are. Music is understood by any language and has so much power over human emotions and the mind. It is almost magical how only a series and pattern of sounds can have so much power over a person. It is an outlet and an escape that expresses more than words can. Music can give people a purpose and help them find someone who is going through the same things they are. “Music is one of the most powerful ways of communication and self expression. It is truly a gift and should never be taken for granted,” said junior and trumpet player Cristina Garrido who says music is her escape.
According to eMedExpert, playing a musical instrument accesses the entire brain, which includes thinking, speaking, moving, and remembering. Someone playing the piano for instance will be thinking about what key they have to hit, using their voice to sing the lyrics, moving to hit the keys, and then remembering how to play the song. There are very few activities known to access all parts of the brain at the same time. “Music is very difficult to learn, and it takes practice and time to learn certain parts. Like science or math, you have to study until you understand everything for the test,” said freshman Ali Custer who is in a guitar class at Tuscarora.
One of the most known effects of music is mood and emotions. The main elements of a song that influence our feelings are rhythm and tone. The beats in a song affect our heartbeat depending on the speed, which helps determine our emotions. Faster beating is associated with joy, and slow rhythm indicates something sad. A mix of both most of the time indicates love. Tones affect emotion as well. A major key means happiness, and a minor key creates a more depressing tone. “I think that’s the point of music. It’s made to make people feel something. People listen to music for the lyrics. People can relate to lyrics and things like that,” said sophomore choir member Kyndall Donalson.
Music has also been shown to have many health benefits, including minimizing the amount of pain someone might feel from osteoarthritis, disc problems, and rheumatoid arthritis. It also helps reduce emotional pain someone with depression might feel. Scientists aren’t quite sure why this is, but there are theories. Some believe music causes the human body to release endorphins, which are hormones that cause a person to feel happier and lessen pain. Another theory is that, if you are listening to slower music, your heartbeat and breathing will slow as well. This relaxes the body and relieves stress. Some researches believe that since music is a controllable element in a person’s life, it improves how they are feeling. In addition to reducing pain, studies done by the American Society of Hypertension have shown to lower blood pressure after only a half hour of listening to classical and Celtic music. Music also helps people who are recovering from a stroke, but it has to be familiar or meaningful to them. Lastly, seizures were not shown to happen as often for those with epilepsy when listening to Mozart. This is only the surface of the what scientists have found music can do for our health. “Music has the power to change people’s lives just as much as an sort of technological innovation could,” said Garrido.
Do you listen to music while you study? Music has been proven to help students remember information and intensify activity such as reading, math, emotional, and visual intelligence. Listening to a melody accesses the right side of your brain, while studying uses the other half. Doing these activities at the same time stimulates brain activity and makes it easier to remember information. Songs by Baroque and Mozart have been proven to be the most effective to use while studying because they access both parts of the brain at the same time. If you are taking a test and blank out information, try playing the song you were listening to in your head. Try to study while listening to music without lyrics because you may find yourself remembering the lyrics and not the information for a test or quiz. Studies have shown that this can cause someone to remember what they were doing while listening to that song. Students who can play music are also more capable of higher memory retention as opposed to those who have never played a musical instrument. “I definitely listen to music whenever I’m doing my homework and feel really overwhelmed because it gets me ready and refreshes my spirit,” said Kyndall.
If are preparing for an important sporting event, listening to music is a good idea. Music has been proven to lessen muscles strain as well as coordination. In general, listening to music is a great way to get any work done. Neuroscience of Behavior and Physiology released a study where they played rock or classical music, people had to answer a series of visual questions. Those who were listening to the music had faster responses than those who weren’t. “Music helps me feel like I belong somewhere, and that I can make an impact; it empowers me,” said sophomore Sarah Linhart who takes choir, piano and vocal lessons, and is participating in Tuscarora’s musical Sister Act.
After a student has finished all of their work, music can help them unwind and fall asleep. Bach music specifically has been shown to help people who can’t sleep or have insomnia and normally takes up to forty-five minutes to take effect.
Music has many benefits for high school students who are constantly stressed about the next day’s due dates and tests. Procrastination can be prevented, and it can make anyone feel better physically and emotionally. Music is everywhere, and it brings people together. Whether it’s on the car radio or jamming out with your friends at a concert, everyone is together humming the same tune and have the same lyrics stuck in their head. “Composers write music to portray something. It is more than just notes written on a page, it is a story. A song is who someone loves, who broke their heart, or even a childhood memory. When we listen to music, we can feel what the composer is trying to express and I think it’s absolutely incredible that they can transform a page covered in notes into a picture in someone’s mind,” said Garrido.