Dizzy Gillespie by James Gayles
You are driving down the road, the radio is on, and all of a sudden, you hear those one or two notes, and you immediately recognize that that is your favorite song just came on. You reach for the dial, turn it up and begin singing at the top of your lungs. Your head sways back and forth, and for a moment, you are taken to a place – perhaps a memory of a current love, or maybe the one that got away, or the one you longed for but never connected? Whatever the emotion, you keep that song and that memory on your mind for some time.
Or, how about this. You are in the shower (everyone knows that you always sound better in the shower) and belting out a tune that takes you to your ‘happy place.’ Let me be honest here and note that the reason for sounding good in the shower is that you are confined to a small space, and bathroom tiles do not absorb sound, so your voice bounces back and forth, hence, that awesome sound! Okay, so now, you are out of the shower, you are getting ready to go out for the evening, and during your preparation, you crank up the music, snap your fingers, shout ‘that’s my jam’ and even glance in the mirror while you are getting dressed and can’t help but to lip-sync the lyrics. That music is providing the soundtrack for how you are feeling and puts you in the mood for your evening.
And finally, we cannot forget the feeling you get when listening to your favorite hymn or hearing that special song in church. Sometimes, we cannot explain the streaming of tears that pour down our faces. The music just takes you there. Not to mention that music can release dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins.
You have been there, haven’t you? Music is the vehicle that moves us through various feelings and to a different emotional space. There is research that shows the significant benefits of listening to music. Music can be a stress reliever, helping to boost your mood or self-esteem, even productivity, and aid in the memory performance.
According to Shahram Heshmat, a professor of Public Health, music is a language of emotion, and it has the power to evoke emotional responses. Often, we associate certain songs with a time and/or place in our lives. Music can make us laugh or cry. It can induce a feeling of gratitude, euphoria, or liberation. In the days of COVID-19, music has become a form of relief and release for those on lockdown. Music has allowed us to forget our troubles for a moment, find healing and hope. Perhaps you were introduced to Derrick Jones, better known as D-Nice, as he introduced the world to social distancing dance parties on social media. Or, maybe you were one of those who participated or witnessed singalongs from the balconies while millions of people sheltered at home. In the absence of social gatherings such as concerts, there are many mediums used today to deliver music such as Instagram, Facebook, Spotify, and YouTube.
Musicians are not only offering listening opportunities to those who are interested; some are even offering music lessons and Zoom sessions for those who want to learn more about a particular musician, their music, or an instrument. Zoom is also useful for virtual rehearsals for music groups. It has literally become a lifeline for those who have no other means of connecting with another human during this time of social distancing.
History has shown that music creates a sense of belonging and helps people to cope, regulate their mood, and give them a sense of identity. We are powerful in our love for the soundtracks of our lives.
Kim M. Campbell, Ph.D. is an educator and music enthusiast.
Dr. Kim M. Campbell is the Director of Enrollment Management for Mount Carmel College of Nursing where she is responsible for all strategic student recruitment planning and processing for prospective students from initial contact until student matriculation.
A dedicated community leader and advocate, Dr. Campbell currently serves on the board of trustees for The Breathing Association and trustee for Prevent Blindness Ohio. Additionally, Dr. Campbell serves on the Advisory Board for the African American Leadership Academy and she is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. National Smart Set and The Girl Friends, Inc.