By Elisa John
I believe that listening to music is something that everyone who is able to do so should practice because it is essential for true happiness in life. We all know these people who say: “I don’t know. Just what’s on the radio, I guess” or “I don’t really listen to music” when asked which kind of music they love listening to. This should be a legitimate answer, considering that everyone loves different things and likes spending their time diversely.
However, the musician Billy Joel once said: “I think music itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from.” By stating that he means that we as human beings profit from listening to music individually as well as collectively. And I could not agree more with him. People have been making music for over 40,000 years. This suggests how essential and indispensable music is to human life.
Music unites people and connects them socially. Moreover, music is known for creating an incomparable feeling of cohesion. The most beautiful thing about this is that firstly, this feeling of cohesion is accessible to everyone regardless of gender, age, belief or sexual orientation. And secondly, the form or genre of music is completely irrelevant – whether it is roaring chants in a football arena, national anthems sung at the Olympic Games, headbang-evoking songs at a metal concert, the lullaby that your mother used to sing to you when you were little, the tunes that blurred out of some old speakers on a long gone summer night or the classical quartet that was played when your grandmother walked down the aisle.
Music does not exclude anyone because it is accessible to everyone at any time. Being part of a community or a fandom that sometimes shares more than just the same taste in music but also the values that the song‘s lyrics or the artist stand for is an experience that is more bonding than most other things. Friendships and even relationships are very likely to arise from the connection and sensations music can make us feel.
For me, the happiest times in life have always been accompanied by their very own soundtracks. I have had the best time listening to music with dear friends, singing to my family’s favorite songs like Taylor Swift‘s “Blank Space”, James Bay‘s “Let It Go” and most 90s classics on long car rides and going to concerts of my favorite artists. Music has made me lose friends, but through that same music I continually find new friends and people who share the same beliefs and values as me. These people, our connection over music and of course the music itself make me feel like I am part of something big and wonderful that, at the same time, still is very intimate and something that just belongs to us.
Benefits music can bring to anyone willing to just listen are fighting loneliness, establishing connections and contacts, uniting people and therefore addressing, tackling and potentially even helping society overcome social issues. Our taste in music makes us belong somewhere. Every human being is trying to find their place in this world. We are all looking for real connection to other people because that is what we need as human beings to be truly happy. Music is one way to finally get to that long-awaited destination and to build connection to people who have come the same way.