Monday, May 18, 2015

Can a song change your life?

Continuing last week's theme of why humans developed music, this week I want to highlight a recent post from NPR Music's feature The Good Listener, where Stephan Thompson answers the question: "Can a song really save your life?" Here's the original column.

While many of the comments and responses submitted were about people literally being saved by music, many others were about people allowing music to change their lives. NPR Music's All Songs Considered did a follow-up podcast on The Good Listener post and much of the discussion was about these life changes. Here is the follow-up podcast (9 minutes).

I think my favorite part of the podcast is this quote by Stephen Thompson: "Songs are windows into the perspectives of other people...they're windows into other ways of thinking and that can have a very positive impact on your judgement." In other words, because music allows strong emotions to be attached to words, all packaged in patterns made to be attractive to ears and memorable to brains, songs can really get our attention and cause us to think deeply about concepts. As songs are often written from a first-person perspective, these concepts can easily be directly related to ourselves, allowing introspection that may change our behaviors. If we let them, songs can change our perspective, perhaps more easily than other forms of communication.

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