Why is Music so Powerful?
Music, a repertoire of melodies, has capabilities like no other. “Where words fail, music speaks” Hans Christian Andersen. It’s a language in its own, used for expression, communication, therapy, and understanding. Although most music has lyrics, the sound of music is universal. Anyone who listens can feel or interpret music just by its sound.
Music takes a huge role in cultures, traditions, and religions. That’s how a lot of musical styles and genres were formed. Hymns from Roman Catholic religion was a huge start for music at church. Such melodic styles were in purpose of praising God and their religion. This liturgical music upholds a classical, four-part harmony. Gospel music was deeply rooted from the African-American church. It is very common in Baptist churches, under Christianity. This soulful genre had spread throughout other genres in the industry. There are many other religions that fulfill the same purpose with music. Although all religions may be different, music partakes in the same role- to serve, to pray, to feel, and to praise. Religion is just a small portion of life that music caters to.
There are two parts of music: creating it yourself and being the one to listen. I’ve had experience of being on both sides of the spectrum. Through lyrics and musical arrangements, I was able to express how I felt and to relieve my stress. After creating music, having people listen to it gives them a different perspective of what I verbally explain to them. This gives a part of me and my soul to others in such a vulnerable light. What makes music so powerful in this sense, is the message relativity to the listeners.
From Freshman to Sophomore year, I took the initiative to write my own music for my first Extended Play (EP) album. Pouring my heart and soul into this EP created a bond between me and my passion in music. Not only that, I was able to relieve my stress and send out a message about myself through the music. On April 10, 2017, my EP Sojourn was released. It consisted songs of heartbreak, pain, love, and hope. All of them were written from past experiences.
One of the most impactful experiences I’ve had with the power of music happened recently. Last week, I had to book an emergency flight to the Philippines to visit my mother, who was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). She was in a coma and my family over there was taking care of her. The night I arrived in the Philippines, I went to the hospital and saw that she was immobile and unresponsive. I talked to her for about an hour, but didn’t get a response in return. Her eyes were shut, body still, and lungs breathing through a tube connected to a life support machine.
All of a sudden, I had the idea that I should play her my music. I’ve never showed her my EP, so that time was the perfect time. I pulled out my headphones, plugged it into my phone, and put each earbud into her ears. My whole EP was on repeat. After the fourth song, “Fall,” ended in the first round, my mom began to gently kick and her eyes were tearing. Knowing her condition, which meant that most of her nerve cells have died, this was a big deal. The power of MY music caused her to move and be responsive. I couldn’t help but to cry. This was the moment I knew that music was what I was meant to do.
Through the power of music, we are able to delve into emotions, communication, therapy, understanding, and purpose. Music moves us. We need music. Whether it’s for religion, expressing yourself, understanding someone, or helping those in need, music is there to support us.