Living Well With Music!
Posted on March 31 2020
The Benefits of Listening to Music
Have you ever fought the urge to break out into a dance as you’re walking down the street listening to music on your earphones? We find ourselves in this scenario more often than we like to admit!
Music is remarkably influential on our daily lives and its benefits are undeniable. Plenty of studies have shown over the years that music can enrich our lives, and improve our mental health and well-being. Music has the power to evoke a wide range of emotions - it can be uplifting, thrilling, adrenaline inducing and on the flip side it can also be soothing and therapeutic. Music makes us sing along, play air instruments, tap our feet, clap our hands and of course swing our hips. If the stars are aligned just right, music even tempts us to break dance once in a while - although some liquid courage might be required for this one. Heck - music has even been shown to reduce stress and anxiety in our furry best friends.
It’s important however to realize that in order to experience all the benefits that music can infuse into your life, you have to start with an open-mind and be willing to listen to more than just one or two music genres. That’s because different genres drum up different emotions.
Health Benefits of Music
We all know that music can make us feel joyful, energetic, calm or sad. Specific songs can also vividly bring back special moments in our lives. Research has shown that our brains are wired to distinguish different elements of music such as melody, rhythm, pitch and tempo. It should come as no surprise then that slow music can lower our heart rate and blood pressure, and slow down our breathing - while fast music has the exact opposite effect. Our favorite music also releases a chemical called dopamine which makes us feel good.
So how are different music genres correlated to positive health effects and well-being?
If you want to improve your mood, try listening to genres like rock, indie, folk, country, top 40 or hip hop. Songs with a medium to fast tempo will generally have an uplifting effect on your mood and make you feel happy. Music in this category is also great to indulge in when exercising, as the faster tempo and engaging lyrics help to boost our mental and physical stimulation. For a more intense workout - give hard rock, metal or electronic music a try - these types of music are sure to get your adrenaline pumping.
To soothe your soul and reduce stress and anxiety in your life, explore more relaxing music with a slower tempo, low pitch and without lyrics. Slower rock songs, new age, folk, jazz, blues, classical and instrumental genres have a relaxing quality about them and a positive well-being effect on listeners. This type of music is also great when reading as it helps to improve our focus and memory. Fun little tip: if you’re reading a book that has been turned into a movie, play the movie soundtrack via your favorite music stream app or on your turntable in the background - it’ll elevate your reading experience to a whole new level.
Finally, slower music is also a great natural sleep aid and hence a perfect enhancement for those who love to read in bed.
Beyond all of these benefits, studies have also shown that music can ease pain in patients recovering from surgery, improve cognition and even help people with serious illnesses. Is there really anything that music cannot do then?
How To Expand Your Music Taste
In order to experience all the benefits that music can infuse into our lives, it’s best to be open to a variety of music genres. So what’s the best way to explore other types of music?
Trying listening to an artist or band that fuses different music genres. Many popular musicians experiment with different music genres - some with amazingly great success. If you already enjoy rock and have an inkling to get into orchestral music, then check out the Collective Soul Home album. This live album fuses Collective Soul’s icon rock songs perfectly with the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra. The Black Keys, on the other hand, blur the lines between indie, rock, blues and alternative on all of their albums. If you love electronic music, then give the TRON Legacy soundtrack a spin. This fabulous album combines electronic music with an orchestra like no other. Amy Winehouse isn’t known just for her deep, lucious vocals - she’s also managed to create an eclectic mix of musical genres, including soul, rhythm and blues and jazz. In the early 80s, a punk rock band known as the Beastie Boys blended rock and hip hop so well - they’re still part of our regular playlist!
Another way to get into other music genres is to listen to the music scores of your favorite movies or cartoons. Watching cartoons is likely a warm, fuzzy memory from your childhood. While you probably weren’t paying much attention to the music in the background when you were young, we’re sure that as a young adult you realized that most cartoons are accompanied by rich orchestral scores. While not all classical or orchestral music is “easy” to get into, cartoon and movie soundtracks are composed with large audiences in mind and hence very pleasing to just about all listeners. What are some good places to start? Some of our favorites include Ludwig Göransson (The Mandalorian), John Williams (Star Wars, Indiana Jones and much more), Aliens (Jerry Goldsmith), Carl Stalling (Bug Bunny and many other Warner Bros. cartoons), James Horner (Avatar, Titanic, Braveheart) and Howard Shore (The Lord of the Rings).
We genuinely hope that these tips will help you explore other music genres and help you embark on a new musical journey! Happy listening friends!