Music and its Influence on Behavior

By Norma

I believe in rhythm. Life, the ultimate song that plays till we die. Patterns all around us, repeated, constant, true. Our heart beat, it’s lub – dub sound, like the beat to a song. Energy, wavelengths. Rising & falling vibrations are constant oscillations. When I vibe with you, we are on the same vibration, vibing to the same tune of life.

I wept myself to sleep for many nights when my high school sweetheart broke up with me. It was one of the most challenging moments in my life up to now, feeling all that sadness all at once. He was a tall, cute and charming boy with a smile that would just make you melt. I loved his character, he was well brought up, caring, loving and with so much respect for others. It broke me that our relationship couldn’t last, as he had gotten university admission to a university that was miles away from mine. I tried to convince him to stay but he shrugged it off, saying this was the only way.

I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I just listened to music. Demi Levato’s heart attack, and a few other love/heartbreak songs, but they made me feel even sadder. I guess there was some kind of misalignment between what I was trying to fill and with what I was getting as feedback, so I changed the genre. I tried Oldskool rap to get groovy, DMX and OutKast were some of my favorites, but in this period of heartbreak I felt completely out of sync with this music as well. It felt too forced, and it couldn’t uplift me.

I made peace with the fact that I needed an outlet, a form of music that would allow me to be expressive with what I felt in that moment and then I came across Breaking Benjamin. It changed my life instantly. The passion and emotion that went into the nerve wrecking, body jerking songs was unmatched and finally I felt at one with music again. I felt as if it knew my pain and asked me to embrace it and to let it all go. For the next 3 months I dwelled in the house of rock until I pretty much forgot I had a heartbreak.

Music speaks directly to our emotions, and we’re all emotional creatures. You know that tear jerking moment, in Titanic, for example? If- you mute the television, step back and analyze the scene, you might think you’re dumb for crying. The softness and emotion the music brings to those scenes by soundtrack is unmatched. It’s so intelligent and cunning that we don’t even realize that it’s the music, and not the story, that manipulates us into crying.

Back when I was still in high school, my cousins Sam, Mandla and I used to believe we’d become braver from watching horror films. Every Saturday, we’d watch a horror film, popcorn and juice at hand, and the one who got scared the last could choose which games to play on Sunday after church. The scarier and repulsive the movie, the better. I always won, but only because my cousins didn’t know my dirty little trick. I’d close my ears when I anticipated a scary scene. Once I mastered this skill, at a certain point in time they thought I was the devil as I kept on winning. Little did they know it was just a matter of closing my ears.

Music has the power to tilt the world in the right direction, or in the wrong one. That’s why it’s always important to pay attention to what you hear. That’s also why the music industry is multi-billion in worth. I tend to rely more on its positives though. A good playlist keeps me going hard during my workout sessions. Understanding tempo and timing of soundtracks improved my endurance and lap times which was an amazing discovery.

Music also helped calm my nerves before my final exams. I was always approached studying logically, focusing and reviewing the material a few days before the exam and trying to remember as much as I could. An hour to 15 minutes before the exams, I would listen to my favorite calm and vibey playlist just to get myself in the right mood and to focus. This helped clear my head instead of trying to remember everything at once. I’d have to trust my brain to deliver in a time of need. Calmness helped more than anything, it made me feel composed and calm, undefeatable and untouchable. And every time I executed this ritual, I’d brutally murder my finals, so it became a method that got me through high school.

As with every good thing in the world, there are also negatives that come with music. Some people use it for the wrong purposes. For instance, gang indoctrination and practices. All fuelled by hateful chants and heavy adrenaline-filled beats. It’s a scary world out there, but inspiration is everywhere, so I will sing and dance at every chance I get and make the most out of every moment. In positivity, in love of course, and in music.

21 November, 2023