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The importance of music in our lives Print E-mail

Friday, 15 February 2013 00:00

Written by Kurt Stricker

Carlos Santana once said; "music can change your molecular structure". The "Mozart Effect" is a set of research results that indicate that listening to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's music can, in a nutshell, make you smarter. It is, also, believed that early music training helps develop brain areas involved in language and reasoning.  

Music is one of the most beloved human experiences. Everyone enjoys some sort of music and that is evident in almost every important event from weddings and funerals to graduation ceremonies and presidential inaugurations. The ambiance can be set in any room by simply adding soft music in a restaurant or upbeat sounds at a worship service. Several famous athletes have been known to listen to music as part of their pre-game/match ritual. And let's not forget those unforgettable soundtracks to our favorite films. Yes, music is everywhere.

There are many different styles, or genres, of music. Some of the more familiar are classical, jazz, blues, rock & roll, rhythm and blues, rap, hip hop, country, bluegrass, folk, house, new age, world, and metal but the overall list goes on and on. Then you have different modifications of several genres, which makes this list almost never-ending. Also, watch what you say about someone's favorite band because people are as passionate about their music as they are in politics or religion. Another way of saying this is, there are three topics to avoid in everyday discussion: politics, religion, and music.

Here's an observation: most (if not all) partygoers are invited due to their taste in music. Parties are personal. If you are invited to a party it's usually a friend who does the inviting. Since humans are pack animals, typically, you are a friend because you believe and enjoy the same things as the people you are with. While at this party there will be music to set the ambiance. The minute you play that first cut from your disc there will be someone who will perk-up with, "oh I love this song" or "turn it up" as several more will begin to celebrate by extending their arms in the air and waving back and forth. Oh, yeah, now that's a party.

Here's another observation: music is used in waiting areas. The doctor and dentists office, elevators (ever heard of elevator music?), your car, airports, restaurants, bus terminals, and train stations. Even while on-hold during a phone call there will be nice music for you to listen to as you patiently wait for that next available salesman/technician/operator, or whatever. Why? Music, especially the right music, is very soothing and relaxing. It's what keeps us from destroying waiting rooms, killing motorists, and hurling cell phones through windows. Without this special "waiting music" there would be more death threats, panic attacks, smashed computers, and lost business, especially in the airline industry. Music is even encouraged during childbirth. Just make sure it's music the mother will like otherwise she WILL tell you, in a very stern voice, to turn it off, NOW!

And finally, music is used as inspiration, reminiscing, and celebrating. Colleges have their fight song, people remember an endearing moment from their past during the playing of an old tune, and we sing Auld Lang Syne at the stroke of 12:00 on January 1st while kissing total strangers and swilling the best champagne. Star Wars wouldn't be the same without hearing "Daa, Daa, dat dat dat Daaaa, Daa, dat dat dat Daaaa, Daa", who would remember Woodstock without the Jefferson Airplane song "White Rabbit", and aging another year just cries for that timeless wonder, "Happy Birthday". Take away The Righteous Brothers song "You've Lost That Lovin' feelin'" and Top Gun loses its memorable ending, without country music men can't cry in their beer, and what would a 1970's funeral be without the song "Free Bird" by Lynard Skynard? Without music life would be very boring and colorless. We do everything to the tune of _______ you fill in the blank. Each adventure requires an anthem, every moment needs a melody, and all of life's little pains deserve a psalm. Maybe Carlos was right. If music changes our molecular structure what would we be without it?


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