More Than A Feel-Good Hobby

More Than A Feel-Good Hobby

♫ Always look at the relaxing side of life ♫

Making music is far more than just a pleasant pastime. Simply listening to music can be soothing for the soul, mind and body – an all-round mood booster – so imagine what creating music can do to a person. Anyone who plays music goes on a fulfilling journey of emotion, sound, focus, persistence and learning. This applies to all types of music whether it’s melancholic, romantic or hard & heavy. Some even say that music is an addictive, yet legal, drug!

 

1. Music as a positive balance to everyday stress

We all want a life with as many moments of happiness as possible, but the time we have for ourselves can be very limited and needs to be quite balanced. The key to happiness lies in the balance between stress and relaxation – and this applies equally to body and soul. Scientific studies show that hobbies can provide the ideal balance. It does not matter whether it is creative, physically demanding or perhaps intellectually challenging: the most important elements are enthusiasm and fun, and a team dynamic adds a social aspect, which can make the hobby even more fulfilling. Music is at the top of the list when it comes to making leisure time meaningful and fulfilling.


2. Music making is multi-faceted

What’s special about making music is its incredible diversity. It’s an activity that can be done with a plethora of instruments, which means a variety of playing styles and using different parts of your body. There is also a interpersonal aspect to music, you are communicating something to an audience and, if you have a band, to your band mates. Motor skills and ability to concentrate are trained bit by bit, and sounds and rhythms speak to our primal instincts. So for some people music is math, for others it’s a physical activity, and for many it’s spiritual and emotional journey.  And it goes without saying that music making is continuous learning. The beginner learns chords and scales and the virtuoso never stop learning different combinations and variations of these. Music making calls for all the senses and is a powerful stimulus for the brain because it keeps it active the whole time.

 

3. Making music: an outlet for feelings

Showing emotion is not difficult to do for some, but for many it’s almost impossible without the proper tools. An instrument, or the voice, is a good way to evoke what is bothering us, torturing us, making us ecstatic, etc. Sometimes a melody can be even more evocative or effective than using words. If you’ve ever witnessed a lead guitarist nailing a solo and putting all of their soul into it you know what I’m talking about. Sometimes a single note at the right moment is enough to evoke a feeling that everyone connects with. In this way the instrument can be the perfect “emotional mediator” between the artist and the audience.

 

4. Fine motor skills, flow and concentration

When one practices on an instrument (including the voice) one is learning from experience, completely independent of “giftedness” or age. Both for toddlers and the most adventurous adults, an instrument demands the interplay of sensation, expression, and fine motor skills. It begins with the training of wrists, fingers, joints, and muscles by repeating certain motions and eventually making them more smooth. Then you learn how to control phrasing and tone and at some point you experience this fabulous “flow” as if the instrument becomes an extension of your senses, body and soul. It is an experience that, in interaction with others, adds a new dimension to one’s own feelings.

 

5. From mourning to power

Even more intensely than in the literature, for example, musicians use their own personal thoughts in their songs. The meaning of lyrics can be emphasized through appropriate phrasing, rhythms, intensities and keys that bring more emotion to a story or message. A melody or even just a certain droning sound can draw the listened deeper into the story. Manuscripts or recordings preserve a composition for eternity and ensure that the state of a certain moment can always be retrieved, both for the player and for the listener. Poetry can be fantastic but there are rarely instructions on how to recite it, with music we have these necessary (musical) cues. Lyrics and melodies are expressions of life: melancholy, happy reverie, meditation, rebellion, anger and much more.

 

6. Singing: from shower to cubicle to stage

(click to see the animation)

How does singing affect our health? Have you ever thought about why people sing? The answer: Singing is simply good for the body, mind and soul, and in several respects. Singing stimulates the abdominal muscles, coordinates breathing, exercises the throat muscles, tongue and palate, which helps prevent chronic snoring and breathing disorders. In addition, the production of hormones is stimulated – namely of oxytocin and endorphins, which are called “love hormones”. These hormones are proven to help alleviate stress and anxiety. Why not sing everything that we say?! I wonder how my colleagues would feel about that…

 

7. Music making makes (and keeps) you sane

Brain researchers, neurologists, psychologists and other scientists are increasingly concerned with the phenomenon of music and are in the process of deciphering the effect of music on humans. A lot is already known about the fact that musicians draw positive energy, not just from party music or metal riffs, but even from melancholic songs. This happens both when you are playing an instrument alone or playing together with the mates. Studies show that a balance of leisure time and practising your passion can even alleviate or even cure certain ailments and even diseases. Therefore it is not surprising that music therapy is becoming a more common field of study in universities.

 

 


If you want to immerse yourself more deeply in this topic, you will find many articles, info and tips on the Internet. Here are two good examples: 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/02/music-and-health-rock-on_n_6573132.html
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/music-and-health

Author’s gravatar
Joe started playing the acoustic guitar when he was 10 years old and has been using it as a songwriting tool ever since.He is passionate about melody and harmony and admires singers who do this in unique ways.

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