Music has been a part of different cultures for as long as mankind has been civilized. It is part of any faith whether it is in holiday celebrations or simply trying to pray to a ‘superior’ being. No matter where in the world one may be, nor what language one may speak, music is all around and it comes to the listener in so many ways. This is why we must process what music does for an individual in society.
I truly believe that songs will help an individual when life simply goes wrong. For example, I had a bike accident in June of 2012. I ended up with a completely scabbed face, a swollen and drooping left eye, to brackets of my braces missing, 5 loosened teeth, and four stitches in my torn lip. That was around the time “Cloud 9” came on by Katie Perry. I did not fall out of the sky, but my face hit asphalt and lost the fight. Music will help an individual through a difficult situation. Whether it is listening to music when in the hospital, putting in your headphones to numb the stress of homework, or simply to relax the night before exams, music will help with the chaos of society. This is a point that Frank Fitzpatrick makes in his article “Why Music? Defining Who We Are Through Music”.
Another point that Mr. Fitzpatrick brings up is that it helps individuals create a personality. It allows a different environment for which to think and ponder about what life has to offer the individual. Music allows for thoughts and ideas to flow out more easily. In my Art III class, we listen to music all the time in order for the students to be more goofy or silly, but in a positive way, in order to help the creative process. That being said, one can go further and say that music could help in learning at school. Mr. Fitzpatrick believes that music helps in a positive outlook on oneself, including body image, motivation, confidence, emotional steadiness, and a sense of belonging. That is why music is important.
Musical preferences have the ability to bring people together or tear them apart. It can mean getting along with a peer or being offended that they hate a song you love. Is this limiting? Yes, but it may be a positive way to limit the people with whom an individual comes in contact. People who share taste in music may have a tendency to share other hobbies, likes, or dislikes other than music. Individuals with the same taste in music may have similar philosophies in life or similar problems in life (which brings them closer together). Music influences life in a way that most people don’t realize, but this may not have a positive impact.
As good as music can be, there are downfalls, as mentioned in “How The Music Industry Is Brainwashing You to Like Bad Pop Songs” written by Mr. Barnes. We develop all of the things I mentioned before with songs that we hear often and songs that we like. Unfortunately, there is evidence that we will start to like songs we previously hated due to brainwashing. If an individual is able to be brainwashed into liking music, what else could be brainwashing us? Are we being brainwashed into liking a presidential candidate or our stance on gay marriage? Could an individual be brainwashed into liking another individual (gay or not)? According to Mr. Barnes, we have way less of an idea of why we like the things we do. This begs the question, what does it mean to like something? If we like something that we hate, then are we suicidal when we laugh? Are we depressed when happy? Is a frown a grin or a smile a pout?
If individuals like songs that they previously hated because of exposure, then the world may need to update the dictionary because who knows what else the world is doing to our brains. Music may help an individual, but if music is brainwashing that person, then help is all relative. Be careful in the wide world. We may not know what anything means anymore.