The Power of Music


Esosa E. '22

Taylor Stevens listening to music at flex while working on homework.

Esosa E. '22, Reporter

Music has power. Whether listening to a classic Hannah Montana song bringing me a wistful feeling of nostalgia or bopping to a friend’s chill playlist to get me focused, music changes me. It possesses the strong ability to easily influence the emotions, behaviors, or thoughts of a person of any age. Not only can music affect emotions, but it can also be healing. It may not cure cancer or diabetes, but I believe that different aspects of music can treat the negative feelings a person may experience.

Many different aspects of music such as the lyrics, where the music is from, the beat and genre, or how long you listen to music may affect the way a person reacts to negative emotions such as stress. Students’ stress is often caused by school, especially in a school such as Padua where students are expected to juggle constant competitive academics, sports, and other aspects in student life.

Freshman Taylor Stevens said she listens to music throughout the whole day and that listening to indie music “relaxes her” because it makes her think of happy memories. If she were stressed, she said, “I would put on calming music or depressing music because it gets me in my mindset.” Freshman Aesha Patel said, “[music] just calms me down… when I get frustrated because of homework or tests or when I’m studying it really helps.”

According to a Stanford University study, music of 60 beats per minute (slower music) can lead to alpha brain waves from 8 to 14 hertz per second, inducing relaxation.

Stevens mentioned that genres such as pop or rap are not her favorites. “Pop music annoys me out of my mind and rap music just makes me mad,” she said. Senior Genevieve Oberholzer said she listens to alternative music for about three to four hours a day because it is “reflecting of a mood” she is in. Oberholzer prefers the melody of a song to the lyrics, stating that the lyrics are sometimes “just something I have to put up with especially when the melody is really good.” The music helps her “feel herself” and puts her in a better mood.

Music is everywhere around us, commonly accessible in apps and online. The availability especially affects the feelings of many young people. Patel said having the Spotify app makes her feel better knowing that she can create playlists for “whatever times” she needs such as when she is stressed, nervous, or just happy. “Without Spotify I would be broke trying to buy so many songs and albums… I can easily listen to it [music] everywhere I go,” said Oberholzer.

Not only does music heal stress, but it is also motivational in both physical and mental ways. According to the Billboard magazine, Rapper Logic’s song “1-800-273-8255” led to a spike in activity on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, with over 9,000 calls and 4,000 website users after its release. The use of music during work or exercise often encourages others to be more productive. “Country music especially makes me do work,” said Patel. “It gets me in a good mood so I can swim without freaking out before every race,” said Stevens.

Music may not heal stress or anxiety for everyone, some complaining that music can be a distraction. “Sometimes when I am working on homework, I procrastinate and go on Spotify and listen to music which might stress me out more,” Oberholzer said, while Stevens said if she doesn’t listen to music her “ADHD will go through the roof.”

Besides just being present, there are also different forms of legitimate music treatment. For example, music therapy is the use of musical influences to improve the functions of different areas in the brain. Music is everywhere and is beneficial to many people’s lives, especially the lives of young people growing up surrounded by it. “I think I listen to music to feel myself,” said Oberholzer. “Music is a major part of who I am as a person.”