How Music Affects Mood

Music affects everyone in different ways and more importantly, it affects people’s emotions.  Some may think that music may not play a large role in one’s mood but it often has a dramatic effect.  Interestingly enough, we tend to listen to music that reflects what mood we are in.  If we are happy, we listen to lively music and if one is sad, they listen to sad music.  People do this naturally and wonder why we turn to music in times of a mood booster. The big question is how does music affect our mood?

Music is what people turn to when they are in all kinds of moods.  It has been scientifically proven that music helps people feel less stressed, relaxed, and even motivated.  It can influence mood in either a positive or negative way. For example, Rap or Screamo music have more of a negative connotation which puts people in a bad mood. There is also positive music like alternative or pop.  These happy songs send brain waves and cause an elevation in your mood.  What happens when listening to enjoyable music is dopamine will be released, which is basically a “feel good” chemical.  This chemical is also involved with relaxation and motivation. Since listening to music releases dopamine, scientists have realized that music can help determine things such as human pleasure. “Music is going to be a useful tool in trying to explain all sorts of aspects of pleasure, addiction and maladaptive behaviors”.  -David Huron

Music does not only appeal to adults, but also to kids.  In the following video Dr. Anna Mendenhall and Renee Kohn discuss the affects of music on children.

As seen in the video, the key is that there are different kinds of music that alter a person’s mood. The only kind that has a negative effect is grunge.  Positive is proven to help with learning such a Baroque and other soft instrumental or classical music.  There are also ways that music can help with sleep problems.  Certain beats and rhythmic patterns can help people reach deep sleep and REM cycles.  Dr. Mendenhall also made a point that leaving music on during the night can help sleep cycles. It cannot be loud or harsh music but if it is soft, it will alter the person’s mood and help them sleep better.

This next video is a really interesting exercise.  There is a set of images played through the first half of the video with a certain song.  Then, the same set of images is played again with a different song. It really shows how the song being played influences your mood while viewing the images.

The first song played was kind of sad and made me feel sorry for the people I was seeing.  It gave off the vibe that those people were going through sad hard times.  When the second song played it made me feel a little sad still; however, it was more hopeful than depressing.  It was more uplifting and gave off the feeling that even though they may have been struggling, everything would be okay.  This is just one of many examples of how one’s mood can be changed by listening to music.

Studies have been done to prove that music does not only put people in good or bad moods, but it can put them in a motivated or relaxed mood.  People listen to music that reflects how they are feeling on the inside so in order for them to get motivated by music, they need to already feel a little motivated.  If one is not feelings motivated then the music will not help much because it is not what their internal state is.  Songs also have a way of relaxing and taking away stress.  When people sit down and listen to music, it lowers their heart rates and starts slower breathing. This helps go from a stressed busy mood to a relaxed one.

Music has many purposes and effects on people and they are all in different ways.  However, the one thing in common is how it can make people happier.  Sometimes it may not put someone in a happy mood, but it does have a major affect on their emotions. This is why music is such an amazing gift in everyone’s lives.  It has the power to make people the happiest in the matter of a few minutes.  Music is such an amazing thing and has the powerful affect to bring people together and be happy.

Works Cited