One of my favorite things about music is the way it makes me feel when I listen to it. Whenever I’m in a bad mood or I’m feeling down, listening to music almost always makes me feel at least a little better, if not much better.
The article How Music Makes Us Feel talks about a study done in 2012, by the Department of Surgery at Teikyo University, in Tokyo, Japan. In the study, a group of laboratory mice underwent heart transplants. As the mice recovered, they were kept in separate rooms that each played a different type of music or had a different sound. These included, but were not limited to Mozart, Enya, silence and in some rooms, just a steady sound frequency. The following is what resulted:
[T]he mice placed in the silent or the single-frequency rooms suffered from acute graft rejection, as their immune systems rejected the foreign cells from the transplants. Those who had been listening to either Verdi or Mozart showed significantly improved survival outcomes, living an average of twenty days longer. The Enya listeners were not as fortunate: they did little better than the mice who had listened to nothing at all, living just four days longer, on average, than the mice exposed to noise or silence.
The reasoning behind these results is said to have to do with how the brain perceives different parts of the music. Breathing, circulation, and heart rate are all positively impacted by a four-four tempo, because it matches up with a normal heart rate. Relaxation can be stimulated by rhythms sixty to eighty beats per minute. Both of these are examples of how different types of music can have different effects on you.
Aside from all the science stuff, I think that music really can affect you. I haven’t experienced any real terrible sickness or health problems in my life, so I don’t really know how music would affect me in that way. However, I know that music actually influences my mood. As the article said, psychology and preferences matter just as much as physiology. For me, a lot of music affects my mood because of the things I associate with particular songs. For example, Paramore’s “Ain’t It Fun” always makes me depressed. It’s not like it’s a slow and sad song or anything, but it always makes me think of last spring when a bunch of my friends graduated because that’s when it was played a lot on the radio. Another example of music that makes me feel better is Enya, which just so happens to have been ineffective in the study. The article also said, “But an alternative explanation for the Teikyo results, perhaps, is that no one, not even mice, would ever willingly choose to listen to Enya.” So I guess I’m no one then, because I actually happen to like Enya, which in part is because my dad and I used to listen to her songs together. This goes to show that the memories you connect to songs can really impact how a song affects your mood.
I don’t think studies can show what types of music will affect someone. It’s more about what each individual person hears in a song and how that makes them feel. Even if you aren’t as crazy about music as I am, there is bound to be a song out there that will put you in a good mood! For me, it’s this song. Hope you like it too! (But how can you not? Curious George is the cutest.)