By Jenna Sipponen —
Sometimes your body responds to good music with goose bumps, sometimes you just can’t help but sing along, and sometimes it’s proper to just quietly listen. Depending on your music choice, you may have a combination of these experiences. Music keeps us alive in many ways, keeps us happy, and even inspires us to do great things in our lives. Music keeps the party going, and we all have to admit it gets our toes tapping.
“Those darn teenaged youngsters listening to their darn rap music!” scowls a wise grandmother, clutching her vinyl record in one hand and her tea in the other.
I’ve witnessed teens listening to Dvořák, Tchaikovsky, Howard Shore, Saint-Saëns, and Rachmaninoff for enjoyment purposes. To assume that all teens listen to rap is kind of like… well, it’s kind of like assuming all wise grandmothers drink tea and only listen to vinyl records.
Music and musical experiences are stored in our brain in what is called the hippocampus. Our emotional reactions to music are controlled by the amygdala, permitting you to feel tears well up in your eyes after a beautiful guitar solo. The nucleus accumbens is also where your emotion comes from while hearing music. Next time you start crying from a certain song, just yell, “I HATE YOU, NUCLEUS ACCUMBENS!” People will turn and stare because you sound so smart. Your auditory complex has the responsibility of the perception and analysis of sounds. Also, the motor cortex and cerebellum is where foot tapping, dancing, and playing an instrument are processed.
Our creative energies are heightened when listening to ambient music. Having a moderate noise level while practising your creative passions is possibly the best thing you could do to obtain more creativity. High noise levels stunt the process because they are overwhelming and make it difficult to process information efficiently.
Predictably, our music choices tell people about our personality. “In a study of couples who spent time getting to know each other, looking at each other’s top ten favorite songs actually provided fairly reliable predictions as to the listener’s personality traits.”–blog.bufferapp.com
They compared test scores of children who played musical instruments, to those of children who did not. The ones trained with at least three years of musical instruments tested better with vocabulary and non-verbal reasoning skills. They also tested better in fine motor skills, and in auditory discrimination abilities. Auditory discrimination is to recognize languages and properly understand conversation with background noise. This is where many speech impediments stem from.
Music is also a great tool to use when it comes to exercising. Bikers pedal faster when listening to music, according to a study done by Leonard Ayres. We are actually able to push past the pain and go for longer when listening to music, giving us a better workout!
In fact, the entire time writing this article, I was listening to music. Music gives us something to rely on for our physical, mental, and creative needs. So let me just pause my obscene rap music to tell you this: we would not survive without music. It is everywhere—in our hearts, in the tree branches of a forest, and in your car on your way to work. Let the music flow through your body!
Jenna Sipponen is in Grade 12 and lives in a cute little valley called the Similkameen. Her hobbies include procrastinating, theatre, and yoga in random places.