Turn the Music Up

People have very mixed feelings towards Justin Bieber, varying in scale between hostile hatred and undying love. Some of us spread an inch thick layer of Marmite onto our toast while the rest of us spit it out into the kitchen sink after picking up the wrong spread (who would choose Marmite over Nutella, really….) There’s those of us who dance on table tops after a glass of wine and then sit in on Saturdays to watch Strictly Come Dancing, then there’s those of us  who sit rigidly still in pubs refusing to move. We can’t seem to agree on anything.

Except music. I don’t know a single person who just doesn’t like music. Sure, we all appreciate different genres, beats, instruments, voices. But we can all agree on the basics: music is good. (It may sounds simplistic but bear with me here).

Animals don’t share our need to listen to music. Our cats don’t sit by the radio (unless there’s a radiator/inexplicably warm patch near by) and our dogs don’t learn how to press play on our speakers. Our pets have no reaction to music, as a rule.

So why are humans different? Why are we all so addicted to what any other species would classify as ‘noise’? What any other species would classify as dangerous, because it covers up other , possibly threatening, noises?

The scientific answer is that music releases endorphins in the brain which naturally make us happier, so of course we all like music, we’re biologically engineered to do so. But that isn’t an answer at all. Why are we biologically designed to enjoy music…? How did this happen?
I’ve often tried to imagine how music began. Which cave man heard a regular drip of water and turned it into a drum beat for his new band to practice with? Which woman discovered exactly how high a female voice can reach, how long a note can be held? Which came first, speaking, or singing?

So many questions, many of which I doubt we will ever really know the answers to. I know what you’re thinking, I read this for some information, not for a long list of pointless questions. Shut up, you yell. Stop wasting our time, you shout at your screen.

But one thing I will say? Maybe music is key to happiness. Have you ever had a party, a gathering, even just a get together, without music? Ever gone a whole day without a single tune? Ever eaten a meal, grabbed a drink, shopped, without hearing a constant hum of music? It’s how we socialise, it seems. Whenever we want to celebrate something, to have fun, we plug our devices in, tune in to the radio or (if we’re feeling retro) bung a CD into the player. Music brings us together, it turns out. It creates an atmosphere that allows us to calmly enjoy each other’s company, to relax together, to enjoy free time. And isn’t that, after all, the key to progress? To productivity?

So if you’re feeling down, if you can’t concentrate, if you’re bored or lacking energy – just turn the music up, dear friend, and you might find things are a hell of a lot easier.

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