The Power of Music


Alaina Haylock

Music has more influence over its listeners than most people think (Photo credits to Alaina Haylock).

Music always finds a way to unify people. It can bring together citizens of a nation with a national anthem or others over an event during wartime, depression, or love. Music helps to bring a sense of identity and promotes a mentality of solidarity. When listening to music, the brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that creates positive feelings. It can also be closely associated with memories, furthering the specialty of a moment and evoking emotions.

“‘You are My Sunshine’ by Johnny Cash is a song I used to sing with my grandma in the car before going to school; it’s always a good memory,” said sophomore Heather Queen.

Conversely, other memories can trigger a solemn moment in a person’s life. Oftentimes, people enjoy listening to sad songs when they’re sad. Oddly enough, listening to sad songs can make a person feel better about themselves. 

“I always think of the song ‘Another World’ by Tom Odell as a sad song because [when it was playing] a bird hit the car and I cried [so] everytime I hear that song I tear up,” said sophomore Emily Golec. 

Another interesting point is how music can affect the mood of someone. In the same way someone might mimic the nervous behavior of someone through empathy, this can apply to music. Basically, an individual’s emotions can be influenced by another, so it’s no surprise that a listener of a song can mirror the emotions of the artist.

“After a happy day, listening to songs like ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ just makes the day so much better,” said junior Connor Mcabee.

With every song, an artist hopes to convey a message to their listeners. In relation to music, there are two types of emotion: perceived emotion and felt emotion. If the song is powerful enough, the listener can grasp the emotion without experiencing it. So, listening to the song can help to perceive the emotion without actually feeling it. 

“When I’m in a sad mood, I listen to sad music to make it worse. When I want to be happy I listen to happy music,” said Queen. 

Not only are the effects of music mental, but physical as well. The heart rate of a listener can speed up or slow down depending on the tempo of the song. This occurs because the body aims to be in sync with what’s enjoyable. It also explains why individuals listen to fast-paced music when exercising, as studies show it leads to enhance athletic performance.

“I was really into music my entire life, so a lot of good memories come from music,” said Queen.

Music is very diverse from it’s genres to its message. So, all in all, it comes as no surprise that it affects people so deeply. Music can influence people mentally, spiritually, and physically.