Music – The Soundtrack of Our Lives


What is music? Music can be defined as a single sound or a collection of coordinated sounds. It is a form of art and expression of emotion through notes, harmonies, and frequencies. Music can include a person or multiple people’s voices and/or musical instruments. There are many genres of music, some of which include rock, pop, hip-hop, country, classical, k-pop, jazz, r&b, rap, rhythm and blues, and much more.

Every genre of music has its own style, history, and sub-genres. For example, k-pop is often used as an umbrella term that includes other ‘sub’ genres such as k-hip-hop, EDM, jazz, k-r&b, rap, k-rock, and more. Aside from being very diverse, music is beneficial to us and can affect us in many ways.

For a lot of us, music has been a saving grace during the quarantine. It provides a distraction for our minds that are either overworked and stressed or completely uninspired and bored. In this article, we will discuss how different types of music affects your mood, mental state, and physical balance. We will dive into a few genres of music and explore how it affects us as people.

Why do we listen to music? It certainly doesn’t provide evolutionary advantages, yet we say things like “that sounds like music” and relate it to the singing of birds or the rush of water. According to research, music works as a way to work for the betterment of your cognitive abilities and makes you feel happier. It would make sense that you’d want to see it in everything! Furthermore, you can listen to a kind of music to get a particular response from your brain. 

Let’s go deeper into that, shall we?

In our 10th-grade literature class with Ms. Di Rico, we learned about rap, hip-hop, and r&b in their poetic forms. Rap stimulates emotion and creates a flow-like state in the brain, which can improve mental health. Rap and hip-hop music are often stigmatized and are known for representing violence. However, despite the negativity that is surrounding it, rap and hip-hop culture allow listeners to “expand their consciousness and musical horizons.” This genre of music has been vital in providing a social and political voice to the youth. Although this genre is known to promote angry feelings, many people have stated that rap music makes them energetic, happy, and relaxed. We like slam poetry and spoken words that are set to a beat. Some song recommendations are Alright by Kendrick Lamar, Kiss Me and Neon by Dpr Live, False Prophets by J.Cole, Different by Woodz, and The Letter C by Zach Sherwin.

Jazz music can be defined as a style of music created by Black Americans that often uses instruments like trumpets, string bass’, and saxophones. An example of a famous jazz musician is Louis Armstrong. Listening to jazz music relaxes the brain and body, also known to provide motivation. Upbeat jazz music is known to reduce negative emotions and evoke positive feelings. Some of our jazz recommendations are Chicago, Black Hole Sun, and Cabaret– which are all musicals. L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole, Cotton Eyed Joe by Nina Simone, The Thrill is Gone by Aretha Franklin are also some honorable mentions.

Classical music is a genre that is often portrayed in pop culture as something that you can play for babies to make them smarter or such. According to research, it does. The way classical music works is especially beneficial to improve your memory due to its complexity. Classical music is a way to train your brain; it merely makes you happier. That’s the reason that humans have been producing classical music for so long! The emotion in these classical songs are compelling, and they remind me of the ballets I see with my family. The ballet, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker is a great place to start if you are looking to get into classical music.

Pop music is the genre of ‘popular music’ and songs that become hits. All pop music shares certain features- steady rhythm, catchy melodies-and are easy to remember. Research shows that pop music makes people happy and more lively. Listening to pop music gives you energy and stimulates creativity. Additionally, pop music is proven to reduce stress and lower your risk of contracting stress-induced illnesses. A few of our pop recommendations are Not by the Moon by Got7, The Greatest by Sia, Palette by IU, Runaway, and Congratulations by Eric Nam. Further, we like the band Keane, Two Door Cinema Club, and the Stereophonics; acoustic songs are also relaxing and help you unwind.

Rock music is a broad variety of pop music that developed out of the rock’n’roll era. It is characterized by the amplification of instruments like the electric guitar, bass, and drums. Rock music can be beneficial because it has a strong presence in people’s life. Although metal rock, punk, and other variations of rock are often criticized for being ‘dark’ or ‘immoral,’ they reflect on the good and bad of society and leave an impression on its listeners. Additionally, rock music is proven to help people- especially teens- shape their identities, express themselves, release stress, and also provokes self-expression. Here are a few rock artists that you should check out: Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Poison, and Ramones. Lastly, a few recommendations from us are Given Up and Crawling by Linkin Park, Zombie by Day6, She’s in the Rain by The Rose, and Q by Onewe. 

From all of this, we can say that music is a form of therapy. It has the power to heal through affecting your mood, mental, and physical state. All music has a history that empowers its listeners and leaves an everlasting effect on them. People may listen to music for different reasons, but in the end, our condition depends on the sounds we hear and surround ourselves with. 

After reading about the benefits of different genres of music, what do you think? What is your favorite genre? Why do you listen to music? Comment below!

Personal Recommendations from the authors ( genres & artists): 

Leila: Acoustic music (for homework), 2000s Indie (catchy as all hell), 60s Music (it’s just uplifting and fun), 80s Everything (upbeat and interesting, even if you’re like, “nah,” it’s not, me I encourage you to try! A lot of different stuff came out in that decade). 

Muhibat: Personally I mostly listen to K-pop some artists/groups I recommend are: Ateez, BTS (of course), Dreamcatcher, The Rose, Day6, Onewe, and Seventeen. I also recommend listening to soloists like Dean, DPR live, Woodz, Jessie, and Dawn. Lastly, some artists outside of K-pop that I really like are Ava Max, The Casualties, Linkin Park, Sia, and Kendrick Lamar.  

Elizabeth: I mostly listen to Afrobeats, Kpop, and the late 90s early 2000s R&B and Rap. Some Afrobeats artists I recommend you listen to are Burna Boy, Kwesi Arthur, Mr. Eazi, Koffee, and Tiwa Savage. Some R&B and Rap artists I listen to are J.Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Lecrae, and Aaliyah. Finally some Kpop artists I enjoy listening to are, IU, Eric Nam, Jay Park, Urban Zakapa, Blackpink, and BTS.