Music is an important human function. According to Hodges and Sebald (2011), music and humankind are closely intertwined such that none of them can function without the other. This has led to great importance of music in human life.
As stated earlier, music plays an important role in lives of human beings as well as of the society at large. Tomasino (2007) also asserts that music and society are intimately related. Members of the community use music to reflect and create social conditions as well as express concerns over various factors that either make possible or slow down social changes and developments in the community. People also use music as a medium of communication for exchanging ideas, experiences, thoughts, skills and knowledge. Music is also used for facilitating the sharing of meaning of various experiences in life. This promotes social integration, growth, development and incorporation. People also use music as a symbol of social identity in the community; for example, people use music to identify with certain traditional practices, beliefs, values and cultures (Tomasino, 2007). This also enhances societal harmony and integration.
On the other hand, the therapeutic power of music was recognized several years ago. Therapeutic power of music includes its ability to provide comfort and healing to people with pain. This can be achieved through listening to music or actively composing music. It may also involve both listening and composition of music. According to Gabrielsson and Bradbury (2011), music is highly effective in juxtaposing with other human factors such as hormonal secretions to promote peace of the mind and to lessen or alleviate stress, depression, anxiety and pain among individuals. The therapeutic power of music to relieve pain has been proven by medical research studies that have involved studying groups of patients with brain damages and persistent pains. At the individual level, music is important because it induces psychological, emotional, cognitive and behavioral responses that facilitate relieve of pain as well as promote personal growth and development. These multiple responses which consist of psychological, emotional, cognitive and behavioral responses are also vital for the wellbeing of an individual, especially of patients.
Music and Success
Music can effectively impact and bring about success in the society, among students in schools, promote intelligence development as well as success in life as a whole. According to Marsh (2010), music can bring about success in the society by promoting the traditions and cultures of the communities. This is because music brings people together thus promoting social integration and cooperation which are major components and determinants of societal success. For instance, when people gather together to listen to music, to compose or to play music, they usually create strong interpersonal relationship with their fellow members of the community through increased interactions. This leads to the establishment of a harmonious, peaceful and sustainable community. Harmony and peaceful co-existence are important aspects of a community that determine the success or failure of the society.
On the other hand, music can bring about success in school by enabling students to learn many important and necessary values for life. Music also enhances the minds of students. It also enables students to demonstrate their expressive ability. According to Larrick (2010), becoming skilled at reading music is similar to learning a different language. This enhances the communication skills of students, hence facilitates success in school. Learning to listen to music also enhances the listening ability of students thus enabling them to become good listeners and be attentive in class. This improves their performance and success in school. Sacks (2007) also asserts that listening to music can considerably improve the performance of students on a range of academic tasks thus leading to success in school. According to Reimer and the National Association for Music Education (2009), music also enables students to develop self-discipline. Reimer and the National Association for Music Education (2009) further affirm that music enhances the technical motor skills of students thus increasing their success at school. Music also enables people to develop appropriate problem-solving skills that are very useful and important for succeeding in life.
With respect to the development of intelligence abilities, music provides an alternative way of expressing one’s capabilities thus promoting intelligence development. Sacks (2007) also asserts that music facilitates ignition of creative and critical thinking thus promoting the development of intelligence among individuals. Composing and reading music also increase the creativity of an individual. In addition to enjoyment gained form listening to music, it is capable of creating awareness on current trends and issues that affect the society. This increases the skills and knowledge of an individual hence promotes intelligence development. Sacks (2007) further emphasizes that an individual is able to learn tremendously through studying and analyzing music. According to Hodges and Sebald (2011), practicing, rehearsing, analyzing and critiquing music also enables an individual to develop good analytical skills that are essential in life. Performing music also entails interaction and playing with other people. This enables people develop interpersonal skills hence success in life. Tan, Pfordhresher and Harre (2010) argue that although involvement in the making or composition of music may not seem to have a direct impact on intelligence, research studies have revealed that active involvement in composition of music increases inventiveness, inspiration and self-esteem. It also promotes the development of favorable social and transferable skills. This impacts the behavior of an individual in the society.
People who do not make a career in music are capable of applying the skills and knowledge gained through listening to and studying music in their everyday lives, hence leading to success in life as a whole. Performing music together also enables people to develop cooperative and collaborative skills. This helps in creating strong interpersonal relationships with other people in the society. Music also leads to enrichment of culture, lives and minds of the people. According to Gabrielsson and Bradbury (2011), people may use music to alleviate boredom while undertaking tedious or repetitive tasks, hence enabling them to improve their performance and productivity.
Characterizations and Therapeutic Advantages of Music
The characterization of music involves the use of linguistic symbols and sounds to express ideas. The ideas are presented through the use of words that express the feelings of the composer of the music. Esthetic symbols are also used in music to express the distinction between reality and idealism. A composer of music may also use various tones of a sound and rhythms to express variations in his/her emotions and feelings. The theme of the music must also be properly presented to the target audience. For effective and efficient characterization of music, the composer uses specific symbols and elements that would effectively induce the target audience or listener to pay attention to the music and be able to derive its intended meaning.
One of the most common therapeutic advantages of music is its ability to relive pain and create comfort for an individual by influencing the thinking of a person (Morgan et al., 2011). Music has the power to manipulate the thoughts of an individual. Music is also capable of improving the ability of the mind to recall or remember things, places, events or activities. Music also affects intellectual development and concentration ability among individuals. According to Reschke-Hernandez (2011), music has a strong healing power that enables it to be used as a form of treatment for patients suffering from psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety.
Functions and Influences of Music on Health and Human Behavior
Music has been used to promote appropriate behavior among individuals as well as to enhance the quality of life among patients with terminal illnesses especially psychological disorders. People often use music to manipulate their moods. Change in moods often affects the behavior of an individual, thus music can be used to influence behaviors and conducts among people. A good example of how music has been used to manipulate human behavior is the use of music by businesspersons to influence the buying behavior of consumers through sales promotions and advertising. Similarly, commercial banks have also used music to increase tolerance and patience among customers in long queues through diverting their attention by playing music for them.
Relationship between Music and Emotions
Music creates great pleasure through continued interaction with sound. Listening to music usually gives very personal and fulfilling experience. It sets the mood for the listener. It also acts as a stimulant of the mind and ignites deeper and inner feelings in an individual. According to Juslin and Sloboda (2010), music manipulates the emotions of an individual by inducing the secretion of enzyme endorphins in the body. This leads to influence of emotions.
Benefits of Music and Songwriting in the Improvement of Academic Literacy
The melodies and themes used in music improve academic literacy by providing suitable foundations for further studies. For example, an individual may study how the sounds are produced and how various aspects of music relate to one another. The composition of music also requires creativity and innovativeness, hence improving academic literacy. Many ideas, skills and information are also shared through music. Music also acts as a source of information in the society. It also provides opportunities for exchanging ideas relating to various aspects of the society thus improving academic literacy.