“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” — Plato
More than 316 million people live in the United States, and they can all use music throughout their homes and in their lives. Why? Music makes you feel better, makes your children smarter, and helps you in time of need and when you are in pain.
For Our Children
According to WebMD, “music builds reasoning skills and helps children learn and remember. Children who regularly play an instrument or sing are more likely to go to college, and do well in math, science, and reading.” My children are now eight and six years old and love music, and not just silly kiddie songs, but my Indie music. When my eight year old was born, we purchased our first iMac computer, signed up for iTunes, and made our first playlist for her. As I put her to bed or bathed her, I played that playlist every night, and I was sold on the power of music, because it calmed her. Even today, if I play (or sing terribly off key) those same songs, my children are soothed by them. It has inherently become part of them and who they are.
Music also may help children deal with a painful procedure and crying often has been affected by music. This is the reason to ‘dance it out’–whether it be a bad grade, a bad day or an injury–or maybe just to calm the kids down while preparing supper. Let it become part of their lives, and watch it change their world.
Americans spend more than two billion on gym memberships a year, and of that, just over half of people who belong to a gym actual go. Why do we throw money away at these memberships? We want to lose weight and feel better. Although your favorite song can boost your mood, it has yet to make you lose weight. However, researchers at the University of Maryland found that when people listen to music that made them feel good, they had better blood flow, which is good for your heart and blood vessels.
The List Goes On
Music can increase your ability to think, learn, reason and remember (which is always why I am amazed by utterly quiet office spaces). It can improve how well you speak and even your connection with others. Is this why we have weddings songs, to form a connection between two people? Songs create sense memories and transport us back in time to happy places (and sometimes unhappy ones). Most of us remember our prom song or songs from that era of our lives. These songs capture significance bits of our lives and these “bubbles” can help the brain produce a calming substance called melatonin. This is why music can make you feel better (cue scene of Jerry Maguire belting out “Free Falling” when he thinks he has a chance at success).
For the Sick
After a stroke, people who listened daily to their favorite music remembered more, could focus better, and were less depressed and confused than those who hadn't, one study shows. “The reason isn’t clear, but one possibility is that listening to music involves several parts of the brain.”
For those with dementia and forgetfulness, music has been shown to improve long-term and medium-term memory. Alzheimers.net net reported that “dementia and Alzheimer’s patients can recall memories and emotions and have enhanced mental performance after singing classic hits and show tunes from movies and musicals."
In cancer patients, music is used to reduce pain and this I know for a fact through my mother’s experience battling breast cancer. When she had to receive hour-long treatments, she asked me to make her a CD of music. My “mixed tape” included everything from “Keep Breathing” by Ingrid Michaelson to “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons, which made her laugh and made her cry. It made the hour possible. This is what music does; it is an emotional connection that moves our soul.
Need more convincing? Parkinson’s patients use music to “sing” words helping their slurred or unclear speech. “If you focus on the rhythm of a piece of music, it might help you walk or move better. Music can also slow down your body when it's overactive.” (WebMD)
Over the years, I have sold whole-house audio as a luxury—something that one does not need, but that can improve the life of the client. Moving forward, I will change my tune, and paint a picture for my clients about why music in the home is vital for their children and for themselves. For, “without music, life would be a mistake.” (Friedrich Nietzsche)
Heather L. Sidorowicz is the president of Southtown Audio Video in Hamburg, NY.