Music and Moods

Years ago, when I was a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work, we were required to prepare a Masters thesis.  At the time I was actively playing music and having gigs with my group was one way of paying the bills.  Given my interest in music, I decided to do my Masters thesis on music and moods.

The entire field of music therapy was just initiating and as a musician this notion interested me.  So I decided to marry the important elements of mood and perception with the impactful notion of music.  As an organizer I knew that getting people excited and willing to engage in action required more than just the cause.  It seemed that if music could be introduced into the environment it could have a subliminal effect on people getting more excited about an issue.

of course, today we know this relationship and music is used in many ways to either excite, or calm people.  Think about political rallies that reve up the audience with pulsating or message songs to get people not just excited, but willing to do the important campaign work. 

On an individual basis, music has similar impact.  I know for me I can hear a song that brings me back another place in time, with the song linked to a happy or sad notion.  This is amazing and potent power.  In fact I know people who must have their playlist up and running before they can do their daily workout.  Sort of like the theme to “Rocky” as he runs up the Philadelphia Art Museum steps.  Even Christmas music can put people into certain moods.

Music is multidimensional and has powerful effect.  All of our lives are better for it.