Effects of Music
Music is a very powerful medium and in some societies there have been attempts to control its use. It is powerful at the level of the social group because it facilitates communication which goes beyond words, enables meanings to be shared, and promotes the development and maintenance of individual, group, cultural and national identities. It is powerful at the individual level because it can induce multiple responses – physiological, movement, mood, emotional, cognitive and behavioral. Few other stimuli have effects on such a wide range of human functions. The brain’s multiple processing of music can make it difficult to predict the particular effects of any piece of music on any individual. “Music is an important and extremely useful tool in the way we learn and to deny its power is a waste of a truly wonderful resource” (Kristian David Olson). Though some would look at music as a small footnote in the progression of humanity, it is in fact a much greater force; for some, it defines their very existence. The fact is, music is a driving force in society; it has been present since the dawn of man. The average person spends several hours a day listening to music, whether they see it as a main activity or just as something to take up space in the background. It is not surprising, then, that music has a great effect on how humans think and act, possibly even affecting intelligence. Several studies have been conducted on this theory; though some results are questionable, the consensus view seems to be that music has the capacity for both positive and negative effects. The ability of music to act therapeutically has long been recognized. Therapy can involve listening to or actively making music. Increasingly it may involve both. Music can be effective in conjunction with other interventions in promoting relaxation, alleviating anxiety and pain in medicine and dentistry, and promoting well-being through the production of particular endorphins. Its therapeutic uses have been explored extensively with particular groups of patients, the elderly, those with brain damage, and those with persistent pain. It has also been used to promote appropriate behavior in vulnerable groups and enhance the quality of life of those who cannot be helped medically. The increased availability of music seems to be encouraging people to use music to manipulate their own moods, reduce stress, alleviate boredom while undertaking tedious or repetitive tasks, and create environments appropriate for particular kinds of social occasion. In short, music is being used by individuals to enhance the quality of their lives. People can use music to express themselves, in ways it can’t be expressed through behavior, or art. You can usually tell how someone’s feeling by the type of music he or she is listening to at the time. It’s a tool used by many. Groups of people around the world can come together and gather at concerts, shows, and venues to show what their interests and likings are and you see how many people have similar likings as you. Music also has an effect in a person’s task performance, since it can change moods and give more motivation to the listener. Studies show that music does not automatically increase positive attitude, for it will ultimately depend on the manner by which the music is played. It may, however, reduce the strain of an activity. As a general rule, it is important that that listener plays music he is familiar and comfortable with, in a volume that is not too loud so as not to distract the listener. As a background activity, listening to music has been shown to positively affect mood, productivity, and even intelligence. As stated on the Reverse Spins website: “simply listening to music in the background while doing an arduous task can make it seem much easier, or in some cases … ease the strain of an activity” (Olson). Whether it is merely a distraction from the stress of a situation or genuinely lifts the mood of...
Cited: Kelley, Tasha. “Effects of Music on Children and Adolescents.” Suite 101. 4 Feb 2011. http://www.suite101.com/ “Music Psychology” Win Mental Health. 4 Feb 2011. http://www.winmentalhealth.com/ Olson, Kristen David. “The Effects of Music on the Mind.” Reverse Spins. 4 Feb 2011. http://www.reversespins.com/ “The Effect of Music on Children’s Intelligence.” Raise Smart Kid. 4 Feb 2011. http://www.raisesmartkid.com/
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