The depth of music's effect on the human condition may be incredibly underestimated. Not only are there physical, psychological, sociological & physiological effects but music is even able to touch the human spirit too.
PubMed relays “Abstract. Music, as language, is a universal human trait. Throughout human history and across all cultures, people have produced and enjoyed music. Despite its ubiquity, the musical capacity is rarely studied as a biological function. Music is typically viewed as a cultural invention.”
Once music has made its mark on the individual, next it takes an even grander step but affecting society as a whole. This is accomplished in an assorted amount of ways over time, including immediate biological and psychological results in a group setting. “Now new research suggests that playing music or singing together may be particularly potent in bringing about social closeness through the release of endorphins. Music has also been linked to dopamine release, involved in regulating mood and craving behavior, which seems to predict music's ability to bring us pleasure”.
On top of that, there is a direct link to using our muscle memories when it comes to playing instruments and how it can condition our nervous systems in syncing up our reaction to the world around us. “Researchers have proven that music enhances group identity and that playing musical instruments in a group helps us to 'synch up our brains and co-ordinate our body movements with others. It is suggested therefore that coordinating movement through music may increase our sense of community and make us more social.”
Although we’re major fans of hiding out by yourself in a quiet room and playing the day away, there’s something to be said for a group musical effort, as well. Depending on your genre of preference, you may have only played with a five piece band. While there’s a massive force behind a rock band who is incredibly tight, there’s also a serious power in numbers. Have you ever had the pleasure of singing in a choir or playing in an orchestra? There’s a sense of belonging that’s hard to mimic when dozens of your fellow creators are in a perfect unison.
Not only does music have an instant effect on the chemicals within our brains, but the act of experiencing live music creates yet another bonding that can change the world. Have you ever been to a concert and noticed the sense of camaraderie between the fans? Be it a small 5 person audience or a 10,000 person arena, a sense of binding covers the crowd once the music really sets in.
The Creative Community for Peace reminds us that “Concerts provide an excellent venue for interacting with people from all walks of life. In Israel, people from all races, religions, and backgrounds come together at concerts nearly every day, setting aside their differences for a moment and singing and dancing together in peace. The Eurovision Song Contest, hosted by Tel Aviv in May 2019, was a recent example of people from all around the world coming together for a musical event, with the finale being watched by more than 200 million people. These things stick with us, and when we hear the songs from those concerts, they bring back the experiences we had there.”
Many, including Beethoven, have said that, in one way or another, music can change the world. They really are right about that. Music is this gorgeous, invisible force that can feel like a hug for mankind. All we need to do is listen.