Our little island Jamaica is home to many genres of music. It is the home of “Reggae” and many talented musicians. Kumina, Mento, Ska, Rocksteady and Dancehall were also birthed on the ‘Rock’, as Jamaicans like to call it. Music played a vital role in our history as we rediscovered our identities and made ourselves known to the world. Over the next few weeks, we will highlight several genres and their histories. However, today we will be discussing the superpowers of music.
Isn’t it interesting how hearing a particular song can bring back a special memory or make you feel happy or calm or pumped up? It has the power to move us. Music has the ability to cross barriers and share a message that otherwise would not be heard. It remains a powerful way of uniting people regardless of culture. National anthems connect crowds at sporting events. Hymns and worship songs foster communion with God and serve as a medium that believers use to express their love to God. Lullabies enable parents and their babies to bond. Protest songs stir a sense of shared purpose during marches. Music unites the masses.
Personal Benefits of Music
Doctors at Johns Hopkins recommend that you listen to music to stimulate your brain. Their research has shown that listening to music reduces anxiety, blood pressure, and pain. It also improves sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.
- Improves mood – Have you ever been in a terrible mood but decided to turn on your favourite song? Do you begin to feel better? I definitely do! Music benefits overall well-being, help regulate emotions and create happiness and relaxation in everyday life.
- Reduces stress – Whenever I feel consumed by the pressures of life, the first thing I do is pray and then listen to worship songs. Can you relate? Listening to ‘relaxing’ music reduces stress and anxiety in healthy people and people undergoing medical procedures.
- Improves memory – Research has shown that the repetitive elements of rhythm and melody help our brains form patterns that enhance memory. In a study of stroke survivors, listening to music helped them experience more verbal memory, less confusion, and better-focused attention.
- Soothes premature babies – Live music and lullabies may impact vital signs, improve feeding behaviours and sucking patterns in premature infants, and may increase prolonged periods of quiet–alert states.
Music is one of the most powerful tools in the world. It is more than mere entertainment. It is a way of life. Why do you listen to music? Do you only listen for fun? Let us know in the comments. “Come share, celebrate, boast and debate our Jamaican culture with us.”