The Magical Influence of Music

Music has been used for numerous purposes hitherto and the beginnings of this practice are still vague and uncertain.
It has been used for relaxation, meditation, inspiration and spiritual ceremonies. Many Music Psychologists believe that music has a profound influence on the physiological, psychological and emotional aspects in our lives and therefore can be utilized in dealing with situations that may improve mental, emotional and even physical problems of individuals.

According to the study of Nusbaum and Silvia (2010), 90% of individuals exposed to music may have, in one point or another in their lives, felt a magical experience when listening deep to music. Individuals who are high in “openness to experience” in the Big Five Personality Traits are most likely to experience goosebumps when exposed to music. This explains the tingling sensation when indulged in playing and listening to music. Many phenomena are explained during this state, as individuals tend to be in an elevated feeling when listening to music, somewhat like a hypnotic and serene atmosphere.

Another study from Bradt & Dileo (2009) discovered that music can help in treatment with coronary heart disease by decreasing anxiety and stress. Over 1,000 patients with heart disease were exposed to music resulting to decrease in heart rate and blood pressure.

Music has also been a catalyst for emotions just by mere listening, all of us experience that in our daily lives but there is a study Logeswaran et al. (2009) that is quite interesting. The study found that participants who were exposed to happy music perceived neutral faces happier and when exposed to sad music, changed their perception of a neutral face to a sad face. The study suggested that it would only take as little as a 15 second exposure to music for its influence on your perception to take effect. On the other hand, there is a cathartic effect on sad music as according to a study by Kawakami et al. (2013), whose results discovered that because of the blend and combination of emotions, surprisingly sad music now inspires and is enjoyable. Obviously there are positive and negative emotions in sad music but it seems that the combination of these emotions and melody and rhythm makes it more complex in nature and may have different effects to individuals.

To some extent, like my previous research studies, music has significant effects with individuals of special needs such as autism. Celeste Sanchez, the first recognized music therapist in the Philippines has been advocating music therapy for decades. Her work and achievements with music therapy are widely recognized and appreciated here and in other countries as well. We made a study on Music Therapy with autistic children and results were astonishing, but that is another story.

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