Power of music
Music seems to be enjoying an all pervading presence in our humdrum
lives. We start the day with music. My next door neighbour switches on
his radio and music starts flowing uninterrupted. Although we have our
own brand of music, most of us listen to Hindi music all the time.
We listen to music mainly for entertainment. However, modern research
shows that music can greatly enhance relaxation and relieve stress. What
is more, a particular piece of music can change your mood. In most
private sector organisations they play background music that keeps the
work force in a happy mood.
Unlike other performing arts, recorded music can be listened to while
you are engaged in some other task. More than songs, instrumental music
helps to relieve stress and enjoy life.
The great quality about music is that you do not have to be a
musician to enjoy it. For instance, when we meet our friends at a party,
we make our own music.
This happens quite instantaneously. One person starts singing and the
others provide background music using broom sticks, dustbin lids,
saucepans, bottles filled with pebbles or any other household item that
makes sound. I do not think anybody would condemn such instance music.
Some of us sing in the bathroom tapping on the door. Young men
whistle while taking a shave. Children begin to play various musical
instruments at home and school. Travellers in air-conditioned buses doze
off while listening to recorded music. Even joggers carry a set of
personal stereo to keep themselves happy.
There are different kinds of music for our differing tastes. You can
listen to classical, pop, rock, rap, jazz or folk music wherever you
happen to be. This shows that the effect of music on our life is
According to modern research, those who create music either vocally
or using instruments experience an added dimension to their lives. Music
cuts through all man-made barriers such as cultures, religion, and
ethnicity. As a result, you can enjoy Hindi or Urdu music even if you do
not know their languages.
Meanwhile, music has become a therapy for millions of people who
undergo stress in their day-to-day life. Visit a temple, kovil or church
and listen to the spiritual music that acts like a balm on your tired
nerves. Once I sat in a kovil in New Delhi and listened to the soothing
music. I forgot all my worries and regained my composure. That is the
power of spiritualmusic.
Film makers know how to use music to affect your moods and entice the
audience. For instance, a romantic film like “Love in 1942” will have a
different kind of music from a horror film. Even in the distant past
when silent films were screened, a pianist sat in the cinema playing
music to strike the right mood. You cannot watch even a brilliant actor
like Charlie Chaplin if there is no background music.
When you hear a particular piece of instrumental music on television,
you know that it is time for your favourite teledrama. Latest research
shows that background music you hear in shopping malls and supermarkets
encourage you to spend more money than is necessary.
In fact, a team of psychologists from Leicester University has
emphasized that music can affect even the products we buy. For a set
period of time, they played French music. Using a video camera directed
at the wine shelves, they found that there was a significant increase in
the number of French wine bottles being sold.
They then played a German tune which showed similar results as far as
German wine was concerned. What is significant in this study is that
buyers were quite unaware of the influence of the music they were
Another finding shows that playing Mozart when studying can increase
your learning capacity and IQ. Another research shows that children who
learn how to play a musical instrument are quick at developing spatial
awareness and problem solving skills.
A report in the “Daily Express” headlined “Music to your ears” said
that there were times when we might feel like taking our temper out on a
set of drums, and it would almost certianly help us to feel better.
Relaxation or “New Age” music has a slow rhythm. Sounds are very often
synthesised and there may be added natural sounds, such as, whale song,
birdsong, waves or gentle rain to give you a feeling of calmness and
Psychologists say that children who learn music are better at
remembering words than those who do not do so. Music is also said to be
beneficial in treating memory loss or language difficulties.
Music can be used for many other purposes. For instance, McDonalds -
World’s largest fast food chain - once conducted a research into eating
habits. They found that when the music was speeded up, people ate
faster. When the restaurant is full and people are waiting to enter
impatiently, they play fast music. As a result, customers begin to eat
faster and leave the restaurant quickly.
Some shools in London started playing background music in classrooms
on a trial basis and found that music helped even unruly children to
If you are under stress, before consulting a doctor listen to some
soothing music. There are cassettes and CDs freely available in the
market. Once I listened to a CD entitled “Spiritual Healing Sounds” by
Dr. Rishi Kendra. The country of origin is obviously India. After
listening to the instrumental music I felt that it changed my mood for
During a recent visit to a CD sales outlet in Colombo I found Anil
Mihiripenna’s “Sangeeth Bhavana” (musical meditation) aimed at
stress-busting. However, music alone will not help to deal with certain
types of stress.
Music can only relieve your stress to a certain degree. Sangeeth
Bhavana has used a combination of “Swara Samadhi” or “Swara Sankalpana”
to set the mood and purify the mind. The musical set combines solo
instruments such as the flute, the sarod, the violin and the esraj along
with very soft vocal music.
As has been seen, the power of music has spread to many spheres of
life. Apart from eating good food, music helps us to lead a balanced and
happy life. If somebody says he does not like music, there must be
something radically wrong with him. Those who enjoy music enjoy life.