The Social Benefits to Music

It is a language spoken as universally as mathematics and money, though some would argue with more culture.  Music – audible poetry, able to move the emotions with little more than an array of intricately woven sounds.  Some sing, some play instruments, some simply participate through listening  to live concerts or with headphones on their ears.  Whatever the reason, there are many who find great benefit in the very existence of music.

But, it isn’t simply a matter of liking sound, or even particular sounds.  The art of music has been rumored and theorized to have considerable impact on a child’s maturation, improving general intelligence and refining motor skills that some have thought to build upon a child’s natural problem-solving ability.  Others have touched upon the idea that a child learning a musical instrument can become more inclined toward mathematical and language skills.  Even despite all the speculation, it would appear there is common ground between all these theories; music appears to have some qualitative impact on children‘s mental development as well as adults’ ability to keep mental faculties honed.

It begs the question, “what other benefits are there to music?”  Besides being generally pleasing as a whole and having an apparent effect on the spatial and rational areas of learning, some might argue that music can be used as an implement in behavioral treatment therapy.  Certainly, many people could claim that music can induce various emotions, as varied as the types of music themselves.  How many times have we listened to an upbeat tune and wanted to dance?  Or listened to a sad love song that just plucked at our heart strings?  Or even wanted to lie back and unwind to relaxing jazz melodies?

The concept of musical therapy in itself is not new.  Various facilities institute some sort of musical therapy, most pointedly in situations involving the elderly.  Dementia-riddled patients have been known to have flashes of clarity when listening to era-appropriate music: music they remember from a time within their youth.  These people could commonly have behavioral issues that are difficult to counteract, but the familiarity of a time long past simply by introducing music has been known to trigger old memories on occasion.  If these techniques are able to soothe otherwise frightened and confused individuals, imagine the impact they could have on other societal groups.  Using music as a point of unity between people of different mindsets, invoking calming emotions in those who may experience anxiety or depressive tendencies.  Due simply to the fact that most people can relate to music on some base emotional level leaves us free to ponder the list of possible applications.

To what end?  Well, consider some of the real-life situations that children today face.  There are uncomfortable social situations like peer pressure and bullying, which can easily lead to a lack of self-confidence.  Some children come from broken homes where they have no sanctuary.  There are children in this world who have been known to “grow up too quickly” and take on more adult roles while forgoing the childhood they arguably should have had.  While not a direct countermeasure to any of these situations, music through learning to play or sing could arguably boost self-confidence lost in such interactions.  It could bring about a peace similar to the calm and clarity that it can provide to the elderly that was mentioned earlier.  It is all speculation for now and would require further research, but one can’t argue the emotional impact that music can have on humans, or what implications this may hold for greater discoveries.