Music Listening

The Music Diet

            The average American spends four hours and five minutes listening to music every day. On eating, drinking, and physical activity (moderate exercise), all of which are currently considered essential necessities of life, the average American spends roughly a combined one hour and forty-five minutes per day. On the latter examples, there have been countless studies, experiments, and theories as to how these activities affect overall health. Indeed, organizations and individuals worldwide continuously advise the population about healthy ways to eat and exercise. However, studies and governmental advice on what music is healthy to listen to is deficient, even though the average person spends nearly three times the amount of time on listening to music than these other absolute necessities. A short look at the influence of music on society and individuals shows just how important a musical diet can be.

            One of the top questions of the early twenty-first century posed by journalists was "what's on your iPod?" In other words, what music do you listen to (for four hours per day)? This question is considered relevant, and a favorite among interviewers and journalists, because it operates under the assumption that the music one listens to reveals much about that particular person. Naturally, many people do agree that music tells something about one's personality and character traits. An intriguing question that stems from this idea is: does the personality influence the music, or does the music influence the personality? It is quite possible that both scenarios are accurate.

            The effects of music on society is wide and extensive. Some of the most creative minds in the world have received profound insight and direction from music. Notably, this was true for Albert Einstein, who stated, "If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music." The enjoyment and inspiration Einstein derived from music cannot be overstated. Another more recent mind, Steve Jobs, said, "Music is so deep within all of us...", and he made it a key mission of Apple to expand music's role in society with products like the iPod and iPhone. He also received deep inspiration from Bob Dylan and the Beatles, who affected his personality and rebel outlook on life. The examples here are grand and positive cases, but for many individuals, music carries a wide range of effects. These effects contain a variety of emotions and feelings, including inspiration, joy, sadness, frustration, anger, and mental energy.

            Just how long has music been a major part of human existence? The discovery of a small bone flute calculates the range of musical influence to be at least forty-thousand years old. Not only that, but music played a role in many crucial time periods in history, including ancient Greece, where philosopher musicians such as Plato, Anaximander, and Pythagoras intently studied aspects of theoretical and practical music. The enlightenment was surrounded by brilliant composers like Mozart and Bach in Europe. At the end of the day, there are very few practices as ancient and modern as music.

            With the widespread impact music currently exhibits on society, as well as throughout history, perhaps listening habits are worth further examination. If the average person were to listen to four hours of healthy, mentally stimulating music per day, how might that influence human behavior and psychology? It is an interesting question. Unfortunately, a definitive answerwill have to wait until additional research surfaces. In the meantime, it is enough to note the significance of music on day-to-day life, and to contemplate what musical diet can help us along the way.

           

Citations:

Stutz, Colin. "The Average American Listens to Four Hours of Music Each Day." Spin. Spin, 19 June 2014. Web. 14 April 2016.

"American Time Use Survey." Bureau of Labor Statistics. ATUS, n.d. Web. 14 April 2016.

Isaacson, Walter. Steve Jobs. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011. EBook.

"Albert Einstein." BrainyQuote.com. Xplore Inc, 2016. 12 April 2016. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins692140.html