Across a globe of countries separated by oceans and borders, one of the rare, shared connections is art. It’s seen throughout history that art constantly draws people in because of its expressive nature. Between cultures it takes diverse shapes and methods. Today, one of the most widespread art forms is music. Its many genres and subjects resonate with different people, and radio and apps like Spotify make it more accessible than ever.
Listening to music has been proven to help with stress and anxiety in a variety of ways. One study in New York showed just how much it can affect people when it found that listening to music reduced patients’ blood pressure before surgery. For young people, this can be particularly beneficial for managing their rapidly changing emotions and situations.
Brian Griffin, Douglas Anderson orchestra instructor, attests to this, as he sees it affect his own students. “I’ve seen students’ demeanors change,” he said. When students come into his class stressed, he notices they often leave the room with a smile.
Listening to music can be a healthy and safe way to cope with emotions, negative or otherwise. Many report that when faced with anxiety-provoking situations, music has helped them express what they feel, which ultimately makes them feel better.
Aleana Payne, Band senior, said, “The music I listen to has very positive effects on my mental health. It’s a release, an outlet for what’s in my head.”
Music goes further than simply reducing anxiety. Griffin went on to explain that it can be used to express a wide array of emotions through a variety of genres. “Just like all art, music has more meaning if you have a personal connection to it,” he said.
Payne values the music she listens to for her own reasons. “My music is important to me because it helps me understand how I’m feeling. My mood determines what music I want to listen to,” she said.
Similarly, Madeline Scotti, sophomore Theatre student, has go-to music for several situations and feelings. She has put the music she connects to in many personalized playlists to suit her mood or situation. “If I have an audition, I play my audition playlist,” she said.
The positive affects of listening to music are so widespread yet personal that it’s even used in therapy, Griffin explained. In music therapy, patients work on healing through interacting with music in many ways.
Even those who don’t attend this therapy, like Payne, have found that music helps them in a similar way. “Being able to relate to the music I listen to is almost therapeutic. It’s like talking to a good friend that understands and supports you,” she said.
All music can find connection with someone. It can brighten people’s day or allow them to process emotions. In this way, music is unique.