Music Advantages & Disadvantages


Advantages of Music

 • In its simplest primitive form, the mere sounds of nature and nature-like instruments give us pleasure, when related to basic survival needs: closeness to water, plant, and other animals grazing, mating and singing. Music can be pleasant, relaxing and exciting; it boosts mood, eases tension and awakens consciousness.

 • As it gets more sophisticated, particularly its rhythm that other animals cannot appreciate or easily follow, it begins to stir imagination and create fantasies, as in romantic classics.

 • It stimulates the mind, by its mathematical structure and harmony, as in baroque and early classics.

 • It evokes memories of events it accompanied in our past, as in songs and easily recognized melodies.

 • It mimics nature's sounds—rivers, wind, animals, humans, etc.—bringing to mind the very objects or life forms it mimics, as in pastoral music.

 • It parrots actions: talking, crying, laughing, walking, running, fighting, and complex emotions and patterns of actions, as in symphonic poems or thematic music.

 • It compels us to move according to certain rhythm, and dance: waltzes, polkas, mazurkas, disco, break-dance ... and other dances different peoples of the world have developed since the beginning of history. 

The urge to dance and follow music becomes more compelling when the beat is strong and clear (loud & simple) like that of thunder, quake, collapse, collision, or approaching danger, causing an instant reflexive jerk and forcing us to run, yet not too far and with pleasure instead of fear, because of the pleasing sounds accompanying such powerful rhythm, assuring us it's safe to stay. It's an example of the "false-alarm" thrill we enjoy after surviving a seemingly bad experience: a bite of hot pepper, a tickle/attack of a sensitive body part, a fake accident at the amusement park, etc.

 • Finally, music is cheap to have at almost no cost. Thanks to technology, music is no more a privilege enjoyed only by the rich. It's constantly available in different types satisfying different tastes, thus one needs to make choices when selecting it. One also needs more quietness to physically miss music, and time to mentally prepare for it, which can be spent learning music professionally from the endless resources now available for everyone.


Disadvantages of Music

Nobody knows better the harms of music than one who lives in noise. It's easier to notice the symptoms of music addiction on others, when you are not an addict yourself. You see how they lose control over their behavior, manners and consideration for others, and the time and energy they waste on music only, for the sake of that thrill, or doping effect they get from it. They may not even be conscious of the notes they hear nor understand them, yet they want everyone else to hear, love and understand them.

It's one's fault too sometimes. Both maker and receiver of noise are responsible for its harm: music can make us hypersensitive to noise and cacophony, paying attention to every sound we hear. If one doesn't practice "turning a deaf ear" to any music or conversation not especially played for or addressed to them, life becomes unbearable!

Music interrupts our thoughts even after it stops, as the brain keeps rewinding the sounds it has stored over and over, at the wrong time and place, keeping us from focus, rest or sleep. It intrudes into our senses and mind without our permission, unfairly attaching itself to events it had not caused: it only accompanied such events, yet it keeps evoking them. Thus, our mood changes in spite of us.

This explains why we find two people with opposite tastes about the same work, where each has heard it at a different occasion, thus evoking different memories, if any. It also explains why people are usually subjective about their own voices. We mostly sing to please or solace ourselves, that the sounds we make become automatically connected in our mind to pleasure or solace, even when our voices are neither pleasing nor solacing, if not worse. Moreover, familiarity with one's own voice (as well as smell, looks ... faults) instills such illusion.

The abstractness of a sophisticated art such as music is a double-edged weapon. On the one hand, it carries many interpretations and stirs many emotions; on the other, it cannot define any, mostly pleasing those who don't look for interpretations or restrain their emotions, good or bad, just seeking escape, diversion or freedom for itself, not for something to do with. No wonder most artists enjoy being different, swimming against the current.

Music has many benefits, doing many great things to the mind, none of which is well-defined, tangible, or necessarily logical, albeit neat and harmonic. It's expressive, not informative: being specific, decisive, or neutral is not an artistic trait. Like all arts and forms of beauty, music can become addictive, transforming into something else and showing the other side of beauty! The harms of art are mostly shared by all arts, including music.



Living with Noise

Lessons from the Deaf

How to Listen to Classical Music