Music has a mood generating power all of its own
It can have positive psychological uses apart from pure pleasure. Music is a natural way of anchoring certain states.
The drama on TV became more and more intense
I felt my heart rate speed up, and the music quickened. I clenched my fists… I perched on the edge of my seat. The phone rang – the one in my house!
I muted the TV to talk to the caller, still with one eye on the TV. However, without the soundtrack, the drama lost all its intensity. It wasn’t nearly so ‘dramatic’, and I quickly lost interest.
A film’s soundtrack plays a pivotal role in creating the atmosphere
You could argue that the music alone creates the ambience. Music has enormous power to change how we feel; our emotional state – sometimes more than does the film itself. Think about how the theme to Jaws creates tension and suspense. If you can’t remember, click here and listen. You could close your eyes and still feel that sense of foreboding and impending doom! In fact, if you listen to the soundtrack of any great film, you’ll almost certainly be able to tell what is happening on screen by the style of music being played.
Sound tracks can create feelings of suspense, fun, tension, happiness or any one of a gamut of emotions, thus influencing your emotional state.
What are the soundtracks of your life?
What music can bring you out of a funk? Do you know? If not it might be a good idea to peruse your music list because, once you are in a funk, you’re unlikely you’re ever going to think, “I know, I’ll just go through my music list and see if I can find something that will make me feel better.” You really want anti funk music available at the touch of a button.
Which piece makes you feel melancholy? Which tune to you just have to dance to? What song reminds you of your first love?
Given the power that music has on us, it’s beneficial to consider how you can use music to help put you in the state you need to be in for what it is you want to do.
Some examples, perhaps?
I love Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’ when I want to feel energised, confident and upbeat. I’ll often play this right at the start of my day before I do anything. I’ll also use that, or Dave Dobbyn’s ‘Slice of Heaven’ if I’m feeling tired at the end of a busy day. The great, positive lyrics and upbeat tunes mean I feel compelled to sing along, clap my hands and dance. (Shaggy usually joins in because he’s always ready to sing and dance as well!) Try feeling anything but uplifted after 4 minutes of listening to either of those songs with a dancing parrot, who’s trying to hold the tune, on your shoulder!
Right time – right music
The problem I have is, if I play ‘Happy’ or any similarly upbeat music while I’m working, I end up singing along, dancing and banging out the tune on my desk. That’s not exactly conducive to getting any work done. And it tends to frighten the neighbours!
I like to be in a flow state when I’m working
While I don’t always achieve my ideal flow state, a piece of music called Inward Harmony by Marcey Hamm helps a lot. It’s perfect for when I need to concentrate. It has no words, no beat and no ‘tune’ as such. (Although my description makes it sound completely unappealing – it isn’t!) It makes it much easier to remain in a state of equilibrium. That’s always a bonus when I’m trying to bash out a blog post.
I use music in coaching too
Funky music can ‘jam’ or disrupt negative thinking patterns. In fact, by repeating the music, the negative thinking becomes more and more difficult to access. It effectively helps rewires the brain. Fast, funny tunes are particularly useful to free people of phobias or anxiety.
And in training
I use calming, slow music to help people get into a relaxed state. Music played at low volume keeps trainees in a learning state. And upbeat music guides people back into a room after breaks or brings energy to an exercise.
Your turn now
If you don’t already have mood playlists, what about creating some, so they’re easy to access when you’ve gotten yourself into a funk? What music will help you stop beating yourself up? What tune helps you slow down or do nothing? How many ways can you think of to use music to help you be in the best state for what you want to do? Add the most powerful tunes to your phone as well, so you have access to them whenever you need one to pull you out of that funk.
Some of my playlists include:
- New age (relaxing/calming type music)
- Comedy (generally not music, just recordings of skits from shows and films)
- Easy Listening
- Learning (mainly baroque music and binaural beats)
- On the go (not quite as upbeat as my upbeat list!)
And next time you’re watching a movie, pay attention to the soundtrack and see if you can pick what’s about to happen from the music alone.