Music is important. But it’s still worth asking: why is music important?
Making art is a basic human function.
For whatever reason, we feel the need to leave a mark on the world. We have a burning desire to create, whether it’s folk songs, rock art, or movies – it’s all human expression.
Having a career in music can be frustrating and at times a discouraging affair. It's easy to feel discouraged about it – I’ve found myself wondering if music is a worthwhile pursuit at all, or if I’m adding anything to the world by making music.
Of course, it’s easy to see the positive impact a doctor, teacher or charity worker have on the world. Sometimes, it’s hard to see the positive impacts music has.
Truth is, music is incredibly important to people. It’s important that people hear music, see music, learn music, play music, create music and teach music. Making music is inherently worthwhile.
Here are a few reasons music is important, and you should feel proud to pursue it and take it seriously.
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Music Is Important Because It Moves People
So why is music important?
While there are a few reasons, music is important because it moves people!
Almost everyone remembers the first CD (or song) they bought. You remember the hit songs that played at your first school dance.
You choose songs for your wedding. You choose songs for your funeral.
We choose music to wake up to, cook to, dance to, work to – you get the idea.
Whether you know it or not, music is everywhere in our lives.
Radio, focus music at school or work, workout music, music in stores, music at restaurants – music is literally everywhere. You can’t escape it.
Going through a day without music is almost impossible. And, it’s weird too. Have you ever been in a restaurant with no music? It’s often rather awkward!
Music helps people through their best and their worst days. If you can be a part of bringing that to people, you’re doing a positive thing.
Music Makes Kids Smarter
Parents use music to calm children instinctively. Lullabies, kids songs, classical music – exposing kids to this music seems like a given.
Musical experiences in childhood can accelerate brain development. According to a study by the University of South Carolina’s Brain and Creativity Institute, learning to play an instrument is correlated with better mathematical learning and higher SAT scores.
From a young age, music ignites all areas of child development; intellectual, social, emotional, motor skills, language skills and general literacy.
Singing songs helps children learn the sounds and meanings of words. Dancing helps kids learn motor skills and express themselves through rhythm.
Throughout a person’s life, music can help them immensely. As a kid, learning to play an instrument helps you learn how to learn. As a teenager, it builds friendship and community. Throughout adulthood, it brings joy, connectedness and art.
There is no downside to introducing music to kids, except that they might end up spending all of their allowance on gear (guilty!)
Live Shows Make People Happier & Healthier
According to a study by O2, attending live shows on the regular can help you live longer.
The study says that 20 minutes at a show can lead to a 20% increase in well-being. Further, going to gigs is directly linked to high levels of well-being with an increase in lifespan of nine years.
…Which is kind of crazy.
The study also found that children who took part in choir or singing classes at school had higher satisfaction rates with their educational experiences.
Basically, going to shows is great for your health because it makes you feel good.
Music Creates Community
Although music is often created in isolation (practicing, writing, etc.), even more of it is spent with others.
Music fights one of the 21st Century’s great ills: loneliness.
People who are going out to shows end up connecting with people who are at the same show; after all, they have a similar taste in music!
Musicians end up building a huge network of other musicians and fans. Playing with different bands, organizing shows, going to shows – it all builds your social network, which leads to having many friends and acquaintances.
Research shows that people who have many casual friendships are happier and healthier, because they feel a sense of community.
A music scene is one of the best communities to be a part of.
Beyond that, sharing your creative pursuits with others is a fantastic way to form deep, lasting friendships. Working at something together brings people together.
Music Is Important Because It Improves Your Mental Health
The mental health benefits of music are so well-established that there is an entire field called music therapy that is becoming extremely popular in care facilities around the world.
Music therapy has benefits for a variety of mental health conditions: depression, trauma, schizophrenia and many others. Music is a medium of processing emotions, trauma and grief, but it brings with it the possibility of great joy and calm.
Improvisational playing helps people work through difficult emotions. It can be a great therapeutic tool, regardless of whether you have musical training.
Songwriting provides opportunities for expression in a positive, productive and rewarding way. Creating lyrics that reflect your experiences brings a huge sense of validation.
Active listening can be used to regulate anxiety and mood. Music activates the neocortex, which calms us and reduces impulsive thoughts.
Think about it – you use music to match and regulate your mood all the time! Feeling summery? Hit “play” on a summer playlist, and then you’re really feeling it. Feeling down? Sometimes a sad song says what you can’t!
These are just a few of the many ways making and listening to music help with mental health.
Music Is The Universal Language
There are so many ways that we can divide ourselves up. Age, culture, religion, upbringing, etc.
One thing I can guarantee is that everyone has a song they love. A song that gets turned up every time it comes on.
Two people who know nothing about each other or their language could start sharing music they like, and have a wonderful time.
Better yet, if you play music, you can play with almost anyone.
Sure, there are some exceptions, but for the most part, music is based on the same 12-note system around the world. You can figure out a song with someone from far away, and play it without ever talking.
Music is a universal language.
Creativity Is Important
This is getting a little philosophical, but I believe that creating art is inherently important.
It helps people evolve and it helps our society evolve.
Many of the great advancements in science, technology and society issues have been accompanied by music that accompanies and bolsters the movement.
Having people constantly creates art out of their experience of the world around them is as important to the human condition as anything else.
What Makes Music Important To You?
Why do you make music? What makes you love it so much?
We’d love to hear! Let us know in the comments.