Why is music important to our lives? Commercials on radio and television use music to persuade us. Religion uses music to uplift our souls. Music is tied to our entertainments—dance, theater, and concerts to name a few. We are able to communicate and connect through music. And let’s not forget how music has influenced our education and physical and emotional health.
My sisters use to sing as a group in church and at social functions. As a small child I watched them practice standing on the raised hearth in front of our fireplace. I listened. I learned. I admired. Finally, at age four, I could stand the wait no longer. As my sisters walked up to the front to sing in church, I followed at the tail end, much the shock of my parents. Because I knew the words and music, my debut was a great success and I was included in the singing group ever after. Thus, music influenced my life at a very young age.
THE HUMAN CONNECTION
Music is important to our lives from the very beginning. Many children have experienced the pleasure of lullabies sung by loving mothers. Music can convey feelings of love and belonging.
Music can also soften hearts. A famous story of World War I speaks about an impromptu ceasefire that began with the singing of Christmas Carols on Christmas Eve. The entire story can be read online at:
Music can help us to feel belonging and connection. Being part of a singing group, a dance group, or a band or orchestra can foster friendships and make us feel part
of something important and fulfilling.
Almost all of us learned the alphabet while singing the ABC’s or another language-appropriate song. Because music incorporates muscle memory (from using facial and vocal muscles, if singing, or arms and hands if playing an instrument) as well as auditory memory and emotional memory, it is an ideal tool for teaching and learning. Songs learned as a child may be remembered well into adulthood.
But music is more than a memorization tool. Studies have shown that children who regularly sing or learn to play an instrument do better in school. Music practice has a way of creating new pathways in the brain to strengthen abilities to learn.
A great article on the subject can be downloaded at: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=How+Music+Education+Helps+Students+Learn%2C+Achieve%2C+and+Succeed
CONNECTING TO GOD
The importance of music is especially evident in the way it connects us with God. It is impossible to put into words the feelings of love, gratitude, and belonging that sacred music can put into our hearts. When I have experienced some of the hardest times of my life, prayer and music provided comfort.
I believe that God rejoices when we sing praises to Him. I don’t believe that He selfishly craves our adoration, but I think He desires our worship for our benefit. We tend to become more like what we think about. As we sing and listen to religious music we can take on God-like traits: faith, gratitude, love, patience, etc. Becoming more like God strengthens our connection to Him.
You’ll love this inspiring music video:
MENTAL & PHYSICAL HEALTH
Music has the ability to relieve stress, relieve pain, calm anxiety, improve sleep, and help with a variety of physical and mental disorders. For many patients, music therapy is an inexpensive way to improve their quality of life.
Science tells us that dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to feelings of pleasure and reward, is released as people listen to enjoyable music or even while planning to listen to music. The effects of dopamine can relieve stress and even distract from pain or anxiety. Another great article on the health benefits of music can be found at: https://www.northshore.org/healthy-you/9-health-benefits-of-music/
What’s more, music sometimes evokes the desire to move. Exercising or dancing to music increases the enjoyment of the experience. Exercise videos are almost always accompanied by catchy tunes. Here’s one of my favorites from YouTube. Only click on it when you have 17 minutes and you want to move.
WARNING: MUSIC CAN BE TOXIC
Beware! Some music is not good for you. Loud music can damage the hearing. Music with heavy, pounding beats can cause physical problems. Heavy metal music has been linked as the reason behind some suicides, sexual assaults, and violence. In 1988 three youths killed one of their friends for the fun and thrill it provided. One of these young men claimed that the thoughts of death were introduced to him through heavy metal music.
Because music can be such an emotionally charged medium, choosing wholesome music is essential to our well-being. Music that appeals to lower passions and arouses the instincts should be avoided, as they lead towards loss of self control.
THE MUSICAL BALANCE
Still, the importance of music makes it essential to our happiness and well-being. Without it our lives would lack some of the variety and meaning. Whether we are home alone, in our families, at church, or with friends, we can increase our enjoyment of life by choosing to play and listen to good music. Here’s a last song to enjoy. Have a happy life!