Effects of Music on Society | Teen Ink

Effects of Music on Society

February 22, 2011
By AndrewM SILVER, Oak Lawn, Illinois
AndrewM SILVER, Oak Lawn, Illinois
8 articles 0 photos 0 comments

“Music is an important and extremely useful tool in the way we learn and to deny its power is a waste of a truly wonderful resource” (Kristian David Olson). Though some would look at music as a small footnote in the progression of humanity, it is in fact a much greater force; for some, it defines their very existence. The fact is, music is a driving force in society; it has been present since the dawn of man. The average person spends several hours a day listening to music, whether they see it as a main activity or just as something to take up space in the background. It is not surprising, then, that music has a great effect on how humans think and act, possibly even affecting intelligence. Several studies have been conducted on this theory; though some results are questionable, the consensus view seems to be that music has the capacity for both positive and negative effects.

As a background activity, listening to music has been shown to positively affect mood, productivity, and even intelligence. As stated on the Reverse Spins website: “simply listening to music in the background while doing an arduous task can make it seem much easier, or in some cases […] ease the strain of an activity” (Olson). Whether it is merely a distraction from the stress of a situation or genuinely lifts the mood of the listener, music has been shown in several studies to increase productivity in this manner. In both cases, the listener often finishes the activity in a shorter period of time and with less residual stress. If implemented into the classroom or workplace, this effect could improve test scores nationwide and increase productivity of the working class. Besides improving mood, listening to music has even been shown to encourage intellectual growth, particularly among children. It has been widely observed that “children, teens, and even babies potentially benefit from listening to music, as music can be a stimulant to intellectual and cognitive development” (“Psychology of Music”). It is a possibility that this intellectual growth may sprout from the extra motivation that music grants (as mentioned earlier), providing room for further exploration and growth. It is also possible that the mental activity of memorization and counting beats may spur brain development; however, these effects would be minimal in the average listener. Whatever the actual causes of this effect, it seems that a more productive and intelligent society may develop within a musical environment.

Though the effects of merely listening to music are somewhat significant, the effects of musical education are even greater. Many experts agree that “with music lessons, because there are so many different facets involved, such as memorizing, expressing emotion, and learning about musical interval and chords, the multidimensional nature of the experience may be motivating to the IQ effect” (“Effect of Music on Children’s Intelligence”). A child taking music lessons greatly improves their comprehension of proportional math, which is of great importance in higher level mathematics. Besides the more obvious mathematical effect, the child will explore the lyrical rhythm and content of the music; understanding the vocabulary and rhythm of the musical language may allow them to improve both their reading and writing skills. So, in effect, an education in music will aid the child in what are considered by many to be the two most important and fundamental areas of study. On this same note, concerning failing students, music education has been shown to pull children from even the greatest depths of academic failure. As Olson says, “music can be one of the most influential factors in getting at-risk students motivated” (Olson). With a step outside of the normal, standardized educational system, the failing student may be able to see music as inspiration to do well in other areas of life. Through music, the student may now be able to express thought and emotion, make bonds with other musicians, and feel the need for self improvement. With these types of changes, the student will seek improvement both consciously and unconsciously in the classroom and in other areas of life. Through the observations and in-depth studies presented, it seems that the implementation of music education into the school system could solve many of the problems that test preparation classes and overbearing focus on core areas of education can not.

Despite the advantages music may offer to students, there is a possibility that music may also have negative effects upon impressionable young minds. The Suite 101 website, exploring both the positive and negative effects music can have, had this to say: “Certain types of music or more specifically, [music with] violent lyrics, are believed to have a negative impact on adolescents” (“Effects of Music on Children and Adolescents”). With the experience of music being so close to the human psyche, the listener naturally experiences both emotional highs and lows. While most would feel nothing more than a relieving cathartic effect, in some cases troubled adolescents have been pushed over the edge while listening to music, or encouraged in their self-destructive habits. Many documented suicides have taken place while music played in the background, and there is some speculation that extended listening could lead to anti-social behavior. However, cases of this are few and far between; often it seems that the subject was previously troubled, before music could have been pinned as the primary cause. In other words, music is not really the cause of the problem, though it clearly affects the mind and actions of the troubled adolescent. Furthermore, sexual promiscuity and excessive profanity in modern music (hip hop is specifically mentioned) have also been said to affect the young psyche. Again quoting from the Suite 101 website: “Sexually explicit lyrics and mounds of profanity exuberate through certain hip hop songs [which] can have a negative effect on the thoughts and feelings of adolescents” (“Effects of Music on Children and Adolescents”). Though there is no well publicized study as to the truth of this theory, mere observation might be evidence enough. To the casual observer, it may seem clear that both music and society as a whole have become more promiscuous as time passes. The prominent theory is that the explicit nature of some modern music has desensitized today’s youth to immoral thoughts and actions. Though not studied extensively, there is clearly a correlation between the subject matter of music and the actions of the listener; therefore, this theory cannot be entirely dismissed.

Using the resources provided and careful observation, it is clear that music is a powerful force in human society. Listening to certain music has been shown to improve mood, increase productivity, and even encourage intellectual growth, while music education can have an even greater effect. On the negative side, there are also correlations between promiscuous or violent music and destructive behavior; though some of these correlations can be attributed to a previously troubled youth, others are not so easy to dismiss. However wonderful or terrible it may be, music is a cornerstone of human culture; it is a learning tool, a method of communication, and, for some, a way of life. As such, it should be treated with respect.

Works Cited
Kelley, Tasha. “Effects of Music on Children and Adolescents.” Suite 101. 4 Feb 2011. http://www.suite101.com/
“Music Psychology” Win Mental Health. 4 Feb 2011. http://www.winmentalhealth.com/
Olson, Kristen David. “The Effects of Music on the Mind.” Reverse Spins. 4 Feb 2011. http://www.reversespins.com/
“The Effect of Music on Children’s Intelligence.” Raise Smart Kid. 4 Feb 2011. http://www.raisesmartkid.com/

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This article has 23 comments.

MOA Queen said...
on Jan. 30 2018 at 3:17 pm
Great, I love it. These answers are very useful. Thanks.

Lil $aint said...
on Sep. 26 2016 at 12:50 am
Im doing a project of how music effects society and this really helped out thanks :)

darkangel said...
on Apr. 23 2016 at 7:15 pm
Im doing the same thing in my class

Tattyanna said...
on Jan. 5 2016 at 7:55 pm
I love this article and Im actually in 8th grade making an essay for the Effects of Music on Teens... All I really really need but cannot find is like ur name thingy and like what college u graduated from.. i don't wanna get personal but i need it to cite you!

David said...
on Nov. 25 2015 at 12:39 pm
I love lidia huerta so much and I love u

Cynthia said...
on Sep. 23 2015 at 8:37 pm
Jasmine, I'm so proud of you! I'm using this piece as a model for my 10th graders! Your 11th grade English teacher

on Mar. 23 2015 at 12:49 pm
All of what I read is true and I am writing a paper on this

#trinity said...
on Mar. 19 2014 at 11:38 pm
I had to write an essay of how music has effects,and aftere reading this it really helped me!! I even wrote some of the things you wrote!!:) I really enjoyed reading this!!Thanks!!

JeFfery said...
on Nov. 11 2013 at 10:44 pm
I really enjoyed reading this! I completely agree with your theory and I feel the same way. I am actually writing a paper about the effects music has in society. I feel like music is a great resource when your mad or upst.

;aldkjsg said...
on Oct. 15 2013 at 3:50 pm
love your screen name >:D

molly65 said...
on Jun. 13 2013 at 10:24 pm
lovely article ie helps me with my assignment. i think u should continue and good luck. one thing. pls make the writing bigger.

on May. 4 2013 at 9:06 pm
I have had times where i am listening to an upbeat song and it just gets me going. this essay is very true. Respect Brotha. Peace..

.Dimples said...
on Sep. 8 2012 at 12:17 am
.Dimples, Long Beach, California
0 articles 0 photos 15 comments
I enjoyed reading your work, keep it up!  

GayEricka28 said...
on Jul. 15 2012 at 10:24 pm
I guess that to receive the loan from creditors you should present a firm reason. But, once I have got a bank loan, just because I wanted to buy a house.

on Jun. 19 2012 at 5:58 pm
Kestrel PLATINUM, Warrenton, Virginia
29 articles 11 photos 189 comments

Favorite Quote:
-There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy. (Shakespeare, Hamlet)

Great job! Every now and then in class, a teacher will allow us to listen to music, and I've always felt more productive. Perhaps it was more than just a "feeling", maybe it really did help. The science behind music is incredible. Keep writing, you do it well.

on May. 22 2012 at 2:41 pm
Good article, I was actually listening to metal! Rock ON!

demon-child said...
on May. 10 2012 at 4:57 pm
demon-child, Linden, Michigan
0 articles 0 photos 6 comments
that was really good

nickraz00 said...
on May. 2 2012 at 9:43 am

i really enjoyed this article. thanks a lot. not really...


on Apr. 4 2012 at 6:37 pm
MiniJamesW BRONZE, Newark, New Jersey
2 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." - Jesus Christ

Good job Andrew! I really enjoyed your article as I love music myself and see that it has effects on society. Your paper seems to be well researched and it was good information. I had been thinking about taking music lessons myself, and I think this convinces me to certainly go out there and learn to play an instrument! However, I think some effects depend on the person such as explicit lyrics because although I prefer music without explicit lyrics I do listen to quite a bit of it and I have no problems. Yet some people around me even feel guilty listening to them and it hurts them, so I believe that aspect depends on the person. I listen to tons of music and I'm glad that I now I know that music gives me positive effects most of the time! Thank you Andrew.

on Apr. 2 2012 at 2:30 pm
Music is a very special thing in this world and i think in the future you should be allowed to listen to music any time you like, like doing classwork, homework, or just for fun