The Function of Music

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Music is an essential part of daily life, with roots in human history going back to prehistoric times. Music's continuous presence in society shows that it is an integral aspect of the human condition. Music can be heard everywhere humans go. With the advent of technologies and the internet, access to music has become increasingly simpler. Music can be seen at marriages, funerals, birthdays, surgeries, games, dinners, and sometimes when relaxing alone. Music's pervasiveness suggests that it plays an important role in people's daily lives. Understanding these roles will enable people to enhance their lives through the physical and physiological benefits conferred by music. This essay examines the psychological function of music mainly focusing on the emotional, social and cognitive aspects.

Emotional function of music

Emotion is a negative or positive psychological reaction to something in an individual’s environment. It may be another person, a situation, an object, outcome or event. Music helps to trigger emotions in a person that contribute to achieving specific emotional goals. For instance, when someone wants to work out, loud, energetic music can be used to achieve the emotional state that is beneficial for the moment. The energetic music aids in increasing the heart rate and engages the person’s emotional state that is suitable for exercise. In the same way, slow calming music can help someone relax. The music slows down the heart rate, and the individual responds by calming down. Relaxing music can help a person who is stuck in traffic while in a hurry to keep calm and deal with the situation differently.

Music brings about feelings of happiness and satisfaction. Happy music transfers the same to the listener. The right music can play a significant role in reducing feelings of loneliness and increasing happiness in the life of someone (Miranda and Gaudreau 8). Listening to happy music assures the person that all is well and there’s no need to worry. Music can also trigger sad emotional reactions. Somber music played during a funeral can alter the emotions of the crowd to match up with the situation. Music triggers memories that improve the quality of reflection. For example, a person listening to a song they liked while young can get memories of their past and this help to reflect on their life and achievements. Lastly, music can be an escape from the realities that someone is facing and therefore reduce the stress levels. It works well to reduce distractions. When a person plugs in their earphones, they travel to another world where nothing much matters other than the music.

Social function of music

Music works to promote contact in the lives of human beings. Be it in making or listening to music together, the effect is the same. Music helps to create and maintain social relationships that last for a long time and contribute to the well-being of an individual. Music allows the acceptance of people in a social group. When a person prefers a particular music genre, he or she can find people who listen to the same and identify with them. It helps to promote the interpersonal relationships between the members of the group because they have something in common. The similarity in music preference helps them bond because they have something to break the ice when they meet.

Music contributes to creating a strong ethnic identity in areas where people are inclined to listen to a particular music type. For instance, you will find that people from Latin America identify more with music such as Salsa and Rumba because it reflects their ethnic identity. These people are proud when playing their music and feel that they fully belong to the community.

Group activities such as singing and dancing also promote prosocial behavior. They enable strangers to bond and build friendships that expand their social networks. Synchronized dancing encourages the release of endorphins that create a positive effect and increases the willingness to interact further (Pearce et al. 7). It also creates an emotional bond that enhances empathy between the groups. Coordination during dancing not only builds pleasure but also promotes trust and increases the longevity of the group.

Cognitive function of music

Music improves cognitive function in the lives of human beings. Cognition is concerned with thinking; it affects memory, language and the interpretation of visual information. Music helps to enhance an individual’s memory, language, and visual analysis skills. It affects performance when a person is exposed to certain types of music while undertaking cognitive tasks. Music enables the person to be alert and thus perform excellently with high mental and physical capacity (Levitin and McGill 4). It affects the listener’s arousal level and mood working to calm the person down or uplift them. In the end, it makes it possible to accomplish difficult tasks such as painting or performing surgery.

Something that is seemingly difficult to do become possible when exposed to appropriate music. For this reason, it is possible to conclude that music can make an individual smarter through the stimulation of the relevant part of the brain.

In summary, music confers psychological benefits to the listener apart from being a form of entertainment. It helps to center people emotionally through helping them to calm down or increase their excitement levels. Music helps people to expand their social interactions. Finally, it assists to build the cognitive skills of its listeners, and this contributes to increase in intelligence levels.

Works Cited

Levitin, Daniel, and James McGill. "Life Soundtracks: The uses of music in everyday life." Department of Psychology McGill University, 2007.

Miranda, Dave, and Patrick Gaudreau. "Music Listening and Emotional Well-Being in Adolescence: A Person and Variable Oriented Study." European Review of Applied Psychology, vol. 61, no. 1, 2011, pp 1-11.

Pearce, Eiluned, et al. "The Ice-breaker Effect: Singing Mediates Fast Social Bonding." Royal Society Open Science, vol. 2, no. 10, 2015, DOI: 10.1098/rsos.150221.

The Function of Music Outline


Music is important in the everyday life of humans

Thesis - The essay examines the psychological function of music mainly focusing on the emotional, social and cognitive aspects

II. Emotional function of music

Music triggers emotions that enable the fulfilment of goals

Music triggers happiness and satisfaction

Reduces loneliness

Triggers memories that bring satisfaction

Escape from reality

Reduce stress levels

III. Social function of music

Promotes contact with others

Acceptance in social groups

Build a strong ethnic identity

Group activities promote social behavior

Dancing increases willingness to interact

Formation of emotional bonds

Create trust

IV. Cognitive function of music

Affects performance positively

Makes difficult tasks easy

V. Conclusion

October 25, 2022
Subject area:

Society Internet People

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