Do, re, mi! Sounds like music to my ears…literally! Think back to your first memories of music. Was someone playing you something or singing to you? Or were you the one creating music? My first memories of music involve my parents (professional singers) singing around the house, both to me and with me. Music has been part of my soul and spirit for as long as I can remember, and its influences have been quite strong. It’s basically my life (or at least a large part of it).
Music is said to be the universal language of the Earth. In every culture, psychologists have found variations of music and rhythm to be present. It is inescapable. Lyrics and melodies flow through the minds of children and adults alike, and our access to music has only increased over time and decades. I have yet to meet someone who doesn't enjoy at least one genre of music. That being said, music has the power to create, maintain and alter emotions. Think of your favorite song. Got it? Ok, now how does that song make you feel? Did you say “happy”? Then you’re not alone! Most music that we prefer to listen to makes us feel happy. We feel so good when that beat drops or when that singer hits that high note we always try to imitate or when the guitarist plays that sick riff. But what about when music makes us feel sad?
When I was in college, I had a playlist specifically for when I was feeling sad. It consisted of slow songs that ultimately would just escalate my sadness and send me into an emotional frenzy. This could be debated as unhealthy behavior, but in the moment, when I just needed to feel, I turned to music. Whether it’s the lyrical content or the patterns of notes and tones, music has the innate ability to draw strong emotions out of its listeners. Story-telling intertwined with the melodic structure of a song can create beautiful works of art that can bring out the saddest of feelings. The song “Christmas Shoes” comes to mind when I think of sad songs. It’s about a little boy who wants to buy shoes for his dying mother so that she can be beautiful when she meets Jesus. How depressing! Every Christmas, the radio stations insist on playing this sad song, and every time I hear that piano intro, I immediately change the station!
Obviously not all music is sad. Music is generally thought to be a form of self-expression and entertainment. Music has the power to make one feel loved, sexy, and confident, too! I know of a lot of girls that have a “going-out” playlist that usually consists of upbeat, perhaps empowering songs that employ one to feel like they’re ready to take on the world. Many times the lyrics of songs can make someone feel like they are on top of the world and that they are sizzling hot! One of my favorite genres is (90’s) R&B for its slow and smooth beats, as well as the passion and love written into the lyrics. Hearing someone sing to you about how beautiful and desired you are can be a pick-me-up for sure, and a lot of the R&B that I listen to does just that! So thank you Brian McKnight and Jodeci for helping a girl out!
Music is so many people’s way of escaping reality; it allows one to close their ears to society and open their hearts and minds to delight in aural enchantment and pleasure. Yes, I just made that up. Music produces a variety of emotions, sometimes all within one song, and because of its natural existence, it will probably withstand the test of time. Go listen to something!