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Getting to the roots of music... and our innermost feelings

A lot of people like music whether that's classical music, rock music or another genre. The fact that there are so many different types of music is what makes it so interesting. Music not only sounds nice but can really help a person express themselves.

Think of it like clothing, some people wear certain clothes to show people what they like, for example, a band t-shirt; while others wear clothes that simply make them feel comfortable and happy.

Music works in a similar way. After a long day of being at school or work, it can be so relaxing and relieving to just put on your favourite song or listen to your favourite band. In this way, music is a comfort, or even a reward.

Certain bands or artists can also help people feel understood. This may be because parts of the brain that are involved in emotion are not only activated during emotional music, they are synchronised. It also activates a variety of memory regions which attribute emotional significance to our memories.

I believe the reason why people like a particular band or artist is because they relate to their music. They know that they aren’t alone and that is quite comforting.  A song can help people connect more deeply with their emotions. And while instrumental music allows for wider interpretation, lyrics can express a more precise idea.

Depending on the lyrics they have, songs tell stories. Lyrics often have a deep meaning behind them, and usually, people write songs not because they want to say something, but because they need to.

One of my favourite bands is the Smiths. When I listen to their music I feel varying emotions depending on which song I’m listening to. What’s interesting is they can write songs about the same topic but it creates a different sentiment each time.

For example, the song ‘Ask’ is quite upbeat. It’s a song about how shyness can stop you from getting the most out of life, hence the lyrics,

‘shyness is nice, and shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you’d like to’.

The point of the song is to try and encourage listeners to overcome their inhibitions. However, the song ‘How soon is now’, which also focuses on shyness, leaves the listener feeling very differently. The lyrics of the song tell the story of someone whose crippling shyness prevents them from finding love. Instead of encouraging people to overcome their introversion, it encourages acceptance, which in its own way may be comforting.

Music is like its own language, a language that may be even more effective for communication than just words alone. Usually songs aren’t a bunch of words put together for the sake of it, they’re words written to take us on a journey.

So next time you listen to a song, try to take in what is being said and let the sound of the instruments flow through you. Acknowledging the words can help you understand more about the artist and yourself. Most songs, I find, are about someone’s life and the experiences that we share as people. This is why music is incredible and probably one of the best forms of communication. It’s art, and art needs to be appreciated.


Article written by Imogen, 14 years old, who just completed her first work placement at FYU PARIS. 

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