There’s no way to say it without sounding like a cliche- I grew up with music. My Dad was in a band when I was a kid, I started learning piano when I was 5 or 6 (no one can seem to remember the exact age), and an essential part of Sunday mornings was always Jamie Cullum playing in the background of breakfast. I now find myself in marching band playing flute, and attempting to teach myself guitar. To say music is a large part of my life would be an understatement.
As I grew up, I also came to be interested in psychology. How other people think and how they see the world fascinates me, despite my choice to take AP U.S. History rather than AP Psych. For some reason, I have never been able to learn enough about how our brains work.
So combining music and psychology? That sounds like an fascinating topic to me.
Though a relatively new science, the study of the psychology of music has already made some impressive discoveries. For instance, the connection between music and memory. The documentary Alive Inside chronicles the reactions of Alzheimer’s patients when presented with music they used to listen to when they were younger. Patients who are regularly unresponsive suddenly sing along to music and answer questions about their past down to specific dates.
Yet of course, the connection of music and mind goes deeper than memory.
Currently, I’m reading the book This is your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession by Daniel J. Levitin. It investigates how music affects the brain through memory, emotions, behavioral science, and more. Essentially, it looks into why music is important to us as humans, and refutes the idea that it is simply an evolutionary byproduct of our growth intellectually as a species.
Though I have much more to say on this topic, through knowledge gained from personal experience as well as research, this is only the first post. So for now, I leave you with a piece of music I have found to invoke powerful emotions that vary from person to person. Unless you are highly offended by classical or pianistic music, I would recommend giving it a listen.