This piece was submitted by Geetika Bhagwat, a PhD researcher with the Global Centre for Environmental Remediation.
Everyone has a favorite song, a favorite artist or favorite genre of music. Have you ever wondered why that song makes you nostalgic? Or that particular tune makes you wanna dance and hug everyone around you? …Or is it just me?
Well, the answer is what I call ‘song-memory muscles’. (Umm… not a real muscle. Shhhh!!) Just like memory muscles, these song-memory muscles retain the feelings you experience at a place or during a certain period. So when you hear the same tune again, you are reliving those memories. How amazing is that?
Since its inception, music holds an important place in every culture. Even the most isolated tribes have music tightly vowed into their practices. If it weren’t for music, would it be possible for people from different languages, colours and religions to experience a similar emotion at the same time? NOPE! It’s incredible!
I am from India: the land of spirituality, classical music, and aromas which can activate all your senses at the same time. My father is a professional violinist and I proudly say that I have heard him play from my mother’s womb. The funny part is, due to this pre-birth stimulation (yeah, real scientific term) I feel instantly sleepy when I hear a violin playing. It’s not too bad, unless you’re sitting in the front row at a concert and get caught sleeping in a video. Mmm. True story!
Dhrupad, a form of Hindustani classical music, is one of the oldest forms of classical composition on the planet.
Being a PhD student, I know the stress and sometimes frustration we all go through. Especially when we are scared of getting behind deadlines and missing out on opportunities. Our lives are bound by the ticking of the clock. Whatever time we have left after work is when we need a place to be ourself, to let go and to feel alive. MUSIC IS OUR ESCAPE!!
It’s a doctor that can make sure you have a healthy body and mind. Studies have shown that if you play or listen to music regularly, the part of the brain which helps with understanding language and complex ideas gets stimulated. Well, there is a reason that lullabies exist. Mostly plugged into your ears is a powerful tool which can make you feel energetic enough to do few more pushups, approach that pretty girl to say ‘Hi’, cry out the sadness and find peace to get a fresh start.
I am not an expert, but if you are going through a heartbreak (because of any reason), the best way to get rid of it is to accept your vulnerability, your weakness and then ‘Shake it Off’ (Swift T. et al., 2014). Music helps you fully acknowledge your emotions, and helps you take off from the rock bottom you have hit. So next time you are stressed or lonely, tune in to your favorite song and dance your heart out. It will instantly transform the way you feel and think.
My recent experience of the power of music was last week when I was watching Rick and Morty (I know, right?). At the end of an episode, it played ‘Look On Down from the Bridge’ by Mazzy Star. This song was new to me. To my surprise, I found tears rolling down my cheeks for no apparent reason. The heartfelt emotions came magically from somewhere, and I drowned into the ecstasy of the vibrations created by that song. Although I cried, I was not sad. I was just overwhelmed with life in general and was thankful for what I have.
American singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen says, ‘You can change your life in three minutes with the right song.’ Musicians and philosophers have described in many ways how music touches them. I believe that music is that one place where we are fully vulnerable but still safe.
I take a music break every afternoon. I just go for a stroll and listen to my favorite songs. It clears the clutter inside my head and puts me in a great mood. Works for me, see if it works for you!
I am a singer myself and love Indian classical music, jazz, and blues. You might like something else. So, if you are open to exploring different music forms, you will be surprised to know what a rich variety of music we have around the globe. You might find something new which resonates with your soul and personality. And the best thing is, you don’t need to understand the words. Such a relief!
Here are some relaxing tracks all around the world for you to go for a short stroll and enjoy. Just my personal favorites! And you’re welcome. 😊
1. Irish with lyrics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FkiHtTO-mk
2. Spanish romance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1reRrgrqm0
3. Asturias (Leyenda): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inBKFMB-yPg
4. Indian instrumental (flute): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFvX7R_CHKk
5. English (Poe): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9XkdAB2FA4
6. Buddhist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cyAwtwJbO8
7. Native American flute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jO01kemz1kY
8. Middle East: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2yKBlrU7yg
9. Shamanic drums: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz5LUNH1ghw
10. African: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3lYEigrrqI
11. Jazz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sI_Ps7JSEk
12. Blues: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ab7FJdP_Dqw
13. Asian instrumental: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuwJfDr36Kc
14. Mozart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rb0UmrCXxVA