Some people call music a universal language, but others say the notion is incorrect since all cultures have their own type of music. With a severe lack of attention to the humanities and the arts in the 21st-century, it's a struggle to remember the importance of music to our world. I'm here to discuss why music is important to me in an attempt to encourage further conversation about music as a common, uniting factor.
Music appreciation and the making of music are two avenues that are important to me. The former is the act of listening to and interpreting music, and the latter is what it sounds like: creating music to be appreciated. The connection between the two is what connects humanity through vulnerability.
The availability of music has skyrocketed with streaming services. People can either learn the intricacies of their favorite album or discover new music at the touch of a button. But what does unlimited music appreciation offer us?
Different types of music affect people in different ways. Certain musical elements elicit responses in people, for reasons psychologists are just now discovering. Elements such as lyrics, powerful chord progressions, and melodies appeal are appealing. Seriously, who dislikes a bVI-bVII-I chord progression?
But why? Listening to powerful and pleasurable music releases happy chemicals like dopamine. Music literally makes us happy. The elements that elicit these responses vary from person to person. But that's all science mumbo-jumbo.
Combining elements like powerful chords and melodies with equally effective lyrics does something else: it teaches us. The opportunity to listen to music about how we feel or situations we've experienced helps us to address them. That's why sharing music with others for them to appreciate makes us more vulnerable by revealing something about us.
Similarly, making music functions the same way. Every time we make music, we put something of ourselves into it. Like an artist painting a new piece or an author writing a new story, it's part of us.
Making music with others is even more powerful because it connects you through your vulnerability, which is something very unique with music. Making music together is a unifying experience, a revealing lesson in what plagues humanity. This is one of the origins of traditional blues.
Finally, making music teaches the musician important skills. Anything from finger dexterity, proper breath support, and comprehension abilities. Playing music can be tough, which is why those who frequently make music do better in their jobs and school (also because they are often happier because of all that extra dopamine).
In a world like ours, it's difficult to slow down and appreciate something like music, which we are so saturated in. Playing music is a privilege of humanity that we can't take for granted. If so, we are missing out on something great for us.
This is why music is important to me. It brings people together under a mutual vulnerability to the human condition. Why is it important to you?