The role of music in our live.

Music constantly accompanies us as a background to our everyday life. We hear it at home, at work, in the shop, without thinking too often about how much it can affect our feelings about a particular place or our mood at a given moment. In the following article I will try to explain what roles music plays in our lives and how, therefore, it can be used to stimulate our minds.
Music functions:
Since the dawn of time, music has accompanied us in the form of songs, religious worship or folk songs, as well as in the form of intricately constructed works, which are able to evoke the highest aesthetic sensations in us. Subsequent eras gave more and more importance to the musical narrative. The business machine related to the creation of music and its distribution has also developed, making it a commodity. However, despite the fact that it has always been an extremely important element in shaping our culture and civilization, it still happens that its importance is neglected, especially in the field of education. Primary, lower secondary and upper secondary schools offer a very limited number of hours of musical education in their class schedules. Not infrequently, the time spent on music education should also “fit” the teaching of fine arts. As a result, not only are both topics treated only superficially for obvious reasons, but often the teacher responsible for teaching them often has an education in only one of the above mentioned fields. There is also a problem at universities. Fields of study related to the humanities give the opportunity to listen to lectures on film, theatre, art, or philosophy – there is still not enough space for the musical context. This situation is all the more surprising when we realize how important functions music plays in our lives.


Alan Parkhurst Merriam, an eminent American ethnomusicologist, distinguished the following functions:
(a) emotional expression – music, traditional dance and dance can only acquire a rational meaning through an interpretation that discovers the true source of these emotions;
b) aesthetic pleasure – enjoying music;
(c) entertainment function – is found in every society, but requires a distinction between ‘pure entertainment’. (typical of Western cultures), and combined with other functions in traditional cultures;
d) communication tool – music is not a universal language, it communicates only to the person who understands its language, and what it has to communicate concerns emotions and is achieved through the very existence of music;
(e) symbolic representation – in all cultures music functions as a symbolic representation of thoughts, ideas and behaviours;
f) stimulation of the body’s physical reaction to music – Merriam enumerates the following reactions of the human body caused by the “presence” of music: reduction of fatigue, increase of muscle capacity, facilitation of coordination of movements, acceleration of heart and blood circulation and reduction of sensitivity to other stimuli;
g) strengthening compliance with social standards – this refers to songs, the text of which is an expression of social control aimed at improving behaviour;
(h) strengthening social religious institutions and rituals – it refers to music used in social and religious situations; the function of the song is to coordinate the symbols of the ceremony; it can convey and reinforce any content – it can be linked to rites ‘integrating a community’ and consolidating a certain social order, or to a political festival advertising a party;
(i) fostering stability and the continuation of culture – the musical message of values contributes to the continuation of culture through education or behavioural control;
(j) social inclusion – enhancing solidarity and satisfaction with participation in singing and dancing.
Sounds cure:
Through the aforementioned roles of music, such as emotional expression or physical reaction of the body, it has been adapted to therapeutic activities aimed at various groups of recipients – from pregnant women, children with intellectual disabilities, socially unadapted, young people with legal status, people with cardiological problems, cancer, neurological dysfunction, mental illness, to elderly people struggling with dementia. At the same time, it is worth paying attention to the misunderstanding of some of us about music therapy. In the opinion of many people, music therapy is mainly limited to releasing “from the tape” of chirping birds and the noise of the sea. Meanwhile, the forms of such treatment are very diverse. A therapeutic session can be passive and active, individual and group, focusing only on music, or combining music with other fields, such as dance. For example, traumatized people can – with the help of a therapist with a musical education – arrange a song on this subject and thus to some extent dispose of the burden of unpleasant memories. Such a message is often, with various emotional barriers, much easier to articulate than a simple language message. It is also often a much more legible means of expression. The fact that music is very important as a non-verbal means of communication can also be seen when dealing with patients with whom verbal contact is difficult (e.g. patients with early childhood autism). In such cases, often by means of sounds, it is possible to establish any kind of understanding with these people for the first time.
Sounds teach:
It is also worth mentioning how much music is needed by people in the process of their intellectual development. In the 1950s, Professor Alfred Tomatis, who used music to work with children with speech and communication disorders, discovered the so-called Mozart effect. This researcher showed that the ear is not only an organ for hearing and listening, but above all an organ that recharges the cerebral cortex with electric energy. This dynamization of the cerebral cortex through sounds brings with it many extremely positive aspects for man, such as: improved concentration of attention, increased creativity, improved memory, easier learning to read and write, increased motivation, delayed symptoms of fatigue, harmonization of muscle tension and improved motor coordination. In his work, Tomatis checked the influence of the music of various composers. It turned out that the music that best stimulates the brain is Mozart’s compositions and the Gregorian chant.
Tell me what kind of music you listen to and I will tell you who you are.
Another interesting issue is how our preferred music can express our level of creativity, openness and extroversion. According to psychologists Jason Rentfer from Cambridge University and Sam Gosling from the University of Texas in Austin, musical taste is a basic topic of conversation among young people who get to know each other. Research by these scientists has shown that knowing what music a person prefers allows an extremely accurate assessment of their personality. For example, fans of jazz, classical music and other more complex music genres tend to score above average in IQ tests. Country and pop tastes, on the other hand, are usually more conventional, sincere and simple compared to fans of other genres. “People who like pop and country can be more straightforward and have a less complicated personality, which doesn’t have to be seen as bad. They simply avoid coming into contact with things that they consider unnecessarily complicated. – says Rentfrow. Certainly, such conclusions can be very valuable for people who deal with work involving frequent contacts with other people. Music is the key to understanding another person’s character, as evidenced by the fact that similar musical tastes and thus a similar style of being often contribute to close relationships. It is worthwhile to observe for yourself the importance of preferences in this area, e.g. by browsing through information about social networking users. What will he tell us more about his temperament and style of being – preferred books, films, political views or maybe music?

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