Throughout my life, music has always been a major influence. It has the power to change my mood when I’m feeling down, but the thing I find most intriguing about music is that it doesn’t always end up improving your mood. Like all forms of art, it imitates life, which is not always positive.
The musicians I admire most have the versatility to induce several different emotional responses in the same piece. This quality is present in most of the wide variety of music I listen to which includes jazz and alternative pop/rock bands.
Music is far more than the sum of its parts. It can be thought of in a highly mathematical sense, which leaves one in awe of the seemingly endless combinations of rhythm, tone and intervals that a good musician can produce. Admiring music in this way is a lot like admiring an intricate snowflake, or shapes in the clouds; it’s beautiful, but at the same time very scientific, based on patterns. All of the aforementioned qualities of music have one thing in common: They can be defined with numeric, specific values.
However, the greatest aspect of music lies elsewhere and cannot be specifically defined with words. It is the reaction that each individual has when they are confronted with their favorite (or least favorite) kind of music. It is the capacity for human beings to feel different emotions through music. Think for example of an impact a lullaby has on a newborn, or the beat of a marching band in a patriotic celebration. Music can alter one’s mood and change a person’s energy level.
A study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, describes that one’s cognitive ability and connection to music, stems from an old skill that gleans emotion from motion. “People usually choose the same combination of spatiotemporal features — a certain speed, rhythm, and smoothness — whether pairing a particular emotion with a melody or with a cartoon animation”, the study found.
There aren’t many words to describe the emotional reaction I get when I hear certain songs, even those that aren’t as complicated as those of more skillful artists.
Music can be viewed from many different perspectives. When I think of music, I take all of these points of view into account. My goal, simply put, is to hone my craft in every aspect, to the very furthest of my ability through the influence of music.
Liz K. is a student at Oldenburg Academy in Oldenburg, Ind.