Music is a mother’s singing voice soothing her crying baby to sleep. It is the anthem that energises and rallies a stadium full of sports fans behind their team before the big game. Music is the nail-biting tension during a film that keeps us on the edge of our seats, our hearts racing in anticipation. It is the force behind the goosebumps, the chills, and the tears that well up in our eyes after a beautiful aria, even when we are lost for words of how or why it touched us so.
Music is not just a sound that surges through our ears but a feeling that moves our minds and hearts. It allows us to feel, connect with others, and understand ourselves. This year on World Music Day, take the time to appreciate the gift of music and how it has touched our lives, as well as learn just how powerful music is in healing the mind, soul, and body.
What is World Music Day, and What is its purpose?
World Music Day takes place on 21 June every year, promoting social connection and inclusivity through the universal language of music. Musicians and music lovers with varying skill levels and knowledge are encouraged to share their music with others, as well as expose themselves and others to new styles of music. Most importantly, people all over the world are urged to appreciate the overall impact that music has on our lives.
Countries all over the world celebrate this day by providing free concerts and music-centred events for the public to enjoy. World Music Day also gives musicians, whether professional or amateur, a platform to share their passion for music by encouraging them to perform openly in the streets.
What is the History of World Music Day?
The first World Music Day took place in France in 1982 after Maurice Fleuret was appointed the Director of Music and Dance at the Ministry of Culture in October 1981. In a 1982 study written on French cultural habits, it was reported that one out of every two people played a musical instrument. Inspired by these findings, Fleuret began to think of ways to make music more accessible to the public and put his philosophy of music into practice: “The music everywhere and the concert nowhere.”
This is how the first version of World Music Day was celebrated in Paris in 1982, originally known by the name of “Fête de la Musique,” or festival of music. Musicians of all skill levels were invited to perform in the streets, and the official Fête de la Musique Organisation of Paris pushed for the organisation of free concerts in which artists performed free of charge to expose the public to different genres of music.
Eventually, this French music festival gained popularity on an international level, becoming what we know today as World Music Day. Currently, more than 120 countries all over the world celebrate the impact that music has on their lives on World Music Day, as music floods the streets.
5 Benefits of Music—How Music Heals the Mind, Soul, and Body
1. Music Helps Us Connect with Others and Ourselves.
Music is an unspoken language that everyone is able to understand, regardless of what culture you come from or what language you speak. The power of music is so strong that it can create a sense of community, even in a crowd of perfect strangers. Music reminds us that we are all human with similar life experiences of love and loss.
Furthermore, beyond connecting with others, music can help us better understand ourselves and get in touch with our own emotions. Whether you are feeling down and in need of a good cry, on top of the world and brimming with energy, or particularly unmotivated and in need of a pick-me-up, music can be therapeutic, allowing you to process these feelings and work through them.
2. Music Helps Manage Both Acute and Chronic Pain.
Music may have the power to help us process our emotional pain, but did you know that it also has the power to help us manage acute and chronic pain, decreasing our perception of pain? Some researchers attribute this to the body’s own release of opioids in the brain when listening to music that we enjoy, which in turn reduces the sensation of pain. In fact, the pain-relieving effects of the music were even shown to persist after the music stopped. In another study, it was discovered that people suffering from chronic pain who listened to music more frequently reported having an overall better quality of life with long-term benefits such as enjoyment, relaxation, and distraction.
3. Music Improves Memory in Dementia Patients.
For patients who have received a Dementia diagnosis that can sometimes make life confusing, overwhelming, and hard to bear, music can serve as a magical portal to access memories and feelings that are usually unreachable. Simply listening to a familiar Christmas song that a person with Dementia used to sing as a kid can evoke fond memories, emotions, and a sense of comfort that they may not normally get to experience on a daily basis.
4. Music Helps You Sleep.
Sleep has a drastic effect on our quality of life, and insomnia can take a toll on us, possibly leading to chronic fatigue, irritability, sickness, and depression. However, according to studies, psychologists have discovered that simply playing relaxing music at bedtime can actually alleviate sleeping disorders for most people. That being said, it’s time to turn out the lights, get comfortable, and tune into that soft, snooze-inducing lullaby.
5. Music Can Help Improve Your Mood, Reduce Stress, and Reduce Symptoms of Depression.
Not only does music have a profound impact on our moods, but it also has a physiological impact on our bodies. For example, listening to happy, upbeat music can boost your mood by causing your brain to release more “happy chemicals” such as serotonin and dopamine that evoke feelings of joy. Conversely, listening to calming, classical music can actually lower your blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety levels, allowing you to relax more.
Furthermore, one study has even shown that music therapy, in combination with standard therapy, helped improve symptoms of depression in patients. Beyond depression, music therapy is being used to improve symptoms in stroke patients, people with anxiety, and schizophrenia as well. It is clear that we are still continuing to learn about all of the benefits of music and how to harness all of its healing powers for future treatments.