Updated: May 30, 2020
We are consuming more content than ever before and this trend is only set to rise. Be it in the traditional formats such as books, newspapers, movies or even television shows or in new formats such as social media, vlogs, Reddit discussion threads, infographics — there is just so much content waiting to be consumed. Due to this abundance, people experience an overload of information. We hear statements such as ‘digital detox’ or ‘no screen time’, this is because most of our content consumption, be it for work or for pleasure, comes to us from a screen.
If you are looking for a hobby or an activity that encourages you to get away from mindless scrolling, look no further than music. Playing a musical instrument (your vocals are technically a musical instrument) can be a good way to spend some time away from a screen productively.
Let’s check a few reasons why music is one of the best forms of entertainment.
Music reduces stress
There has been so much disruption and innovation in the world of music in recent times. From the way music is being made and shared to the way it’s being consumed, the music industry is keeping up with times and continues to be accessible to everyone.
Researchers at Stanford University have said that "listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication." These researchers also observed that music is something that almost anybody can access and this makes it an easy and accessible universal stress reduction tool.
The Stanford Report states that studies of rhythms and the brain have shown that a combination of rhythmic light and sound stimulation has the greatest effect on brainwave frequency, although sound alone can change brain activity. This helps explain the significance of rhythmic sound in religious ceremonies. "It's too easy to forget how fundamental rhythm is in so many things and how important musical rhythm can be," said Patrick Suppes, the Lucie Stern Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, at Stanford, who studies brain waves and language cognition.
By learning to play a musical instrument, you are now giving yourself or your child a way to de-stress.
Music makes you feel good
An article on ‘How Music Affects Mood’ states that “Some studies have found that listening to music you enjoy may increase the release of pleasure-causing substances in the brain like norepinephrine and melatonin.”
As this article in Lifehack points out, “Music isn’t necessary for our survival, but it is extremely rewarding and pleasurable. It taps into the same parts of the brain that pleasure from sex and food does. Music floods the brain with a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical in the brain associated with pleasure, motivation and reward.”
The article goes on to suggest that you should not only listen to music but you also make it and understand it. It states that singing is a fantastic stress reliever and can be meditative too. Singing in the shower or in the car while you are stuck in traffic can make you feel good as well. While this doesn’t require training, allowing yourself to dedicate some time in the day to practice music or an instrument, will help you get better and more confident at it.
Music keeps you young
Researchers at John Hopkins call music to be exercise to the brain. In an article about how music keeps you young, one Johns Hopkins otolaryngologist says “There are few things that stimulate the brain the way music does. If you want to keep your brain engaged throughout the aging process, listening to or playing music is a great tool. It provides a total brain workout.”
This research at John Hopkins also goes on to state that music boosts creativity, helps you recall old memories and helps you relax. While each individual might react differently to the same piece of music, it is important to listen to your mind and body’s reactions to music. If you notice feeling upbeat while listening to classical music or feeling blue while listening to jazz, it’s important to log these reactions and use them to regulate your mood.
The place of music in the world of entertainment is pretty uncontested. Whether it is used to reduce stress, improve focus, derive pleasure or combat aging, music is equally effective in all aspects. What kind of music works for you is for you to understand and make a note of. Learning to play a musical instrument or getting some musical training can help you take this activity to the next level, where you can reap increased benefits at all ages, as we note in this blog post about the benefits of musical training for all ages.