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Research paper

  1. 1. Driggs1Emma DriggsBritish LiteratureMs. Bennett12/9/11 The Positive and Negative Effects of Music Music is one of the most influential trends in culture today. It is one of many things thateveryone all around the world has in common. It affects people in both negative and positiveways. The music industry tends to promote negative music that only sings about topics such asdrugs, sex, and money. The positive influential musicians are not in the spotlight as much as theyshould be. Negative music becomes an issue when it becomes more than just music and starts tobe an escape for people. When musicians rap or sing about topics like drugs, they make it seemlike something to be encouraged rather than a deterrent. Teens who feel isolated, angry, ordepressed may become drawn in to music that feeds into those feelings. Several studies show that a preference for heavy metal music may be a significant markerfor alienation, substance abuse, psychiatric disorders, suicide risk, sex-role stereotyping or risk-taking behaviors during adolescence (American Academy of Pediatrics). Research has shownthat music has a very profound effect on the psyche and body. Music is also used every day as atype of healing process, which is known as music therapy. The music a therapist uses with apatient is very dependent on the patient’s preferences, circumstances and goals. Music therapy helps people who suffer with many problems such as cancer, ADD,muscle tension, and many more. Hospitals have begun using music and music therapy for a
  2. 2. Driggs2variety of things such as the following: help with pain management, depression, and to promotemovement. It is quite astonishing how much music can truly do for the brain. Music has animpact on much more such as brain waves, breathing, heart rate, state of mind, and many otherbenefits. It has been proven that music with a strong beat can stimulate brainwaves to become insync with the beat. Faster beats bring sharper concentration and more alert thinking. A slowertempo creates a calm, meditative state. When there are changes in brainwaves, there becomes achange in bodily functions (American Music Therapy Association). Music therapy can help prevent the damaging effects of chronic stress and promotehealth. Music helps keep depression and anxiety away. It also brings about a more positive stateof mind. It has been found to lower blood pressure, which reduces risk of stroke and other healthissues. Music affects people who suffer with brain diseases as well, like Alzheimer’s. Patientswith Alzheimer’s have been shown to benefit mentally from listening to music. The musictriggers some memories that have been otherwise forgotten (“Alzheimers Treatments that WorkNow”). Patients with Parkinson’s disease also benefit from the impact of music on the brain.Sometimes patients with PD have too much movement and cannot stop the tremors orinvoluntary movements. The urge to move may impede the need to relax and can make it verydifficult to sleep. In these cases, slow rhythmic music can slow down overactive body rhythmsand induce relaxation and sleep. Parkinsons disease can affect a patients mood, causingdepression, anxiety and even social isolation. Participating in music therapy groups, includingtherapeutic drumming groups, dance and movement groups, and music therapy support groups,can provide a way for self-expression and a closer connection to others. Active music therapycan help in promoting both physical and emotional health (An Imaginary Being).
  3. 3. Driggs3 Music has been proven to reduce heart and respiratory rates. The Arts and Quality of LifeResearch Center did a study that concluded that patients with coronary heart disease foundlistening to music beneficial because it reduced blood pressure and reduced anxiety. Anotherinteresting fact is that music can boost the immune function. Scientists explain that certain typesof music can create a profound and emotional experience, which leads to secretion of immune-boosting hormones. This helps reduce illness, and can also lower levels of stress-related hormonecortisol (eMedExpert). Although there are many positive effects of music, there are negative effects as well.Some types of music can make the brain lose its symmetry between its right and left halves, orhemispheres. Many people do not realize that music can also cause some serious harm in theform of tinnitus, which is a ringing, swishing, or other type of noise that seems to originate in theear or head. This can be caused by abnormally loud sounds in the ear canal. Heavy rock and rapmusic have the most negative effects on the brain. A lot of repetition can lead to feelings ofanger and hostility. Music has also been found to cause epileptic seizures, which often result inpsychiatric problems. Musicogenic epilepsy is the technical term for seizures caused by music(Scientific American). In order to get positive affects to the brain, music has to contain certaincharacteristics. It needs to be fairly complex to involve more of the brain and keep the personinterested. Music does not only affect people mentally, but also changes their views on life. Societytoday is given mixed messages on what is wrong and what is right. Some people just follow thecrowd, which most of the time is a bad thing. Of all the types of music out there, hip-hop isdefinitely the most promoted. Hip-hop culture was created in the early 1970’s by black andLatino youth living in the economically depressed South Bronx. They exposed racism, drug
  4. 4. Driggs4abuse, and gang violence in their neighborhoods to the public. Hip-hop began to influencefashion, language, and the way younger kids interacted with each other (“Gangster Rap,Censorship of: Database”). Dr. West, who is associate professor of psychology and the study ofprevention of violence at the University of Washington stated, “What’s changed over time is thegreater sexualization of hip-hop. Initially, it started off as a revolutionary form of music. Now,large corporations produce images that sell, and there is a blatant link between hip-hop andpornography.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) A study was done by the Music Educators National Conference in 2001. It was concludedthat high school students who were actively involved in music, through their school or someother facility, scored much higher math scores and verbal scores compared to those who were notinvolved musically. Listening to music or playing an instrument can help people learn better.Research has proven that music has the power to enhance higher brain function. It helps withskills such as reading and literacy, spatial-temporal reasoning, mathematical abilities, andemotional intelligence. Recent studies have found that listening to any music that is personallyenjoyable, not just classical, has positive effects on cognition. Children who struggle withattention deficit/hyperactivity disorder benefit in math tests from listening to music beforehand(eMedExpert). Relaxing music has many therapeutic qualities. It has been used for promoting a varietyof healing throughout the ages. Music can help people to feel a state of deep relaxation, lowerstress, restful sleep, and even helps those with insomnia and physical healing (EnhancedHealing). Not only does music help those with relaxation and sleep, but it helps with physicalactivity such as running. It can help make running feel a lot easier. Studies find that whenlistening to music, it decreases the runner’s perception of effort by ten percent. Therefore, it
  5. 5. Driggs5helps people to run faster and farther because you do not feel like you are running as hard as youactually are. Music also brings about positive emotions, like excitement and happiness. It willtake away the negative aspects such as tension and fatigue; therefore, people will have a muchmore enjoyable and non stressing workout/run. The only bad part about running with music isthat it can distract people from the other sounds that running makes, such as breathing and thesounds of the environment going on around you. These things can make it unsafe, but as long aspeople are aware of what is around them then it should not be too much of an issue (Pros andCons: Running with Music). It is quite incredible how much music can affect the everyday routine. From all of theresearch I have found, not only does listening to music help with healing processes, but it alsohelps with a wide variety of mental and physical struggles. Music is definitely a huge factor insociety today. People do not realize that there is so much more to it then just listening to a songthat comes on the radio or watching music videos on MTV. Everyone should be careful about thenegative aspects of music, and focus more on the positive influences that it can bring. Musictherapy alone is extremely effective and inspiring. Who knew that music could help heal alltypes of serious illnesses? Music is a powerful thing, and should be taken more seriously.