I truly believe in the power of music and all its amazing benefits. For my part, it keeps me young, full of beans and I found a new lease of life in my love of dance music.
As a dance music fan, I only have to look around the room to see the smiling faces and the sheer joy on people’s faces to know that this kind of music lights me up like no other. And no, not everyone is on drugs, in fact, many of my friends don’t even drink – we are high on life and the music. Even with my dodgy knees, I seem to keep on going which just proves music not only affects your brain but also your body!
But of course, there are many genres of music and everyone has their own favourite. I know I may be alone here but being an empath I live on my emotions, therefore, some music I simply cannot listen to. I find it so moving or so beautiful that I can’t stop crying. I used to cry when I listened to the ‘Coldplay’s’ older songs as they’re very sad. I much prefer them now that they have happier songs. Even though I didn’t like their older songs I’d told you how much of a fan I was of them. I just listened to them, in particular, songs like ‘Fix you” and “Yellow’ because the made me sad and I would bawl my eyes out. I recall a Fireworks Night in Ealing, West London, where they played the song ‘Yellow’ over loudspeakers and I started crying, blowing my nose furiously as fireworks flew over my head. I had the same reaction with ‘Keane’ and used to cry on end when I listened to their lyrics and tunes as I felt the sadness in their songs, in particular when their lead singer revealed his battle with depression and his addiction to prescription drugs. It didn’t come as a surprise, I just knew it. I went to a Keane concert in 2010 and as I looked around the audience I was surprised to see that not one person was smiling. What on earth? I could not believe it! Okay, most of their songs are melancholic but not all of them, however, at the concert it seemed their audience liked to feel sad too.
Once I had figured out that bands like ‘Radiohead’ and ‘Coldplay’ would make me feel sad and depressed I made a conscious effort to only listen to uplifting house music. Shallow? No, not me! I’m just someone who ‘feels’ the lyrics in the songs and I’d rather prefer to feel the ‘happiness’ that house music makes me feel than listening to someone else’s sadness.
In fact, only recently an initiative by the Alzheimers Society called ‘Singing for the Brain’ has started in full force and as I volunteer there I can honestly tell you that not one ‘sad’ song is sung there. After all, why would you want to listen to something that made you feel sad? So we only sing’happy’ songs and I love it!
Apart from my ‘musings’ on music in general and how it affects me, or other people, I was curious to find out just what does music scientifically do for the brain and I have to say, the results were rather astonishing. This data is taken from @Psychology Today July 31, 2015.
1. In a study at Tokyo University of the Arts in 2015, sad music elicited contradictory emotions because participants found the sad music “to be more tragic less romantic and less blithe than they felt themselves while listening to it”. In other words, the sad music listened to was sadder than their own lives, which, in turn, made participants feel not so sad about their own state. Oh dear! It’s a bit like Eastenders – I have always believed that everyone watches it so they can feel less displeased about their own lives – after all nothing can be as bad as the lives of the characters in Eastenders :)? In fact, it’s not dissimilar to when we see people less fortunate than ourselves on the street we think “I have so much more than so many people, what have I got to complain about?”
2. When you experience sad songs or tragic fiction, you may experience some of the same physiological reaction that occurs when you, yourself, are in a bad situation, but the cognitive appraisal is different. After all, the tragic movie or the song is not about you and therefore is no threat. In fact, it shows you that your current life is not sad, tragic or horrific and it can give you a sense of relief and even, perhaps, happiness that you are not suffering in the same way as the singer. A point, in fact, was when I would listen to Keane – I would hear the pain in Tom’s voice and it made me feel comforted that someone else was sad too but, at the same time.
3. It does not matter if a song is happy or sad, only whether it has an emotional impact on the listeners. People are happy to like sad songs, not just boring ones.
For me, when I was healing, I could not listen to sad songs and in fact, it’s something I make a point of avoiding. Sad songs make me sad – happy songs make me happy. It’s simple, it’s my logic and I’m sticking with it.
So if you’re feeling low and you want to take a tip from me, play a ‘happy’ song – after all Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” became the best selling record in 2014 in the USA with over 6.45 million copies sold in that year alone. In the UK we’re obviously a bit more miserable (or maybe we’re already happier) as we only bought 1.5 million copies but it did reach No. 1 on a record-setting three occasions and became the most downloaded song in the UK in September 2014.
I know what I prefer to listen to – give me a happy song with a happy beat and meaningful lyrics any day of the week!
With love and happiness,
Tracey B x