Imagine you are at your favorite restaurant, enjoying your favorite meal, and surrounded by the people you love when all of a sudden the live band begins to play that one song everyone in the restaurant including yourself knows. You begin to see individuals, separated by distance and life itself bob their heads in unison to the song being played. Suddenly, the entire restaurant, accumulated with diverse individuals from even more diverse walks of life unite in synchrony, singing along or bobbing their heads to the rhythm. It is rhythm itself that is the structure of time used in music and music itself is the structure of unity used by humans.
In a recent study (1), it was shown that when humans bob their heads in unison with the rhythm, we tend to feel more united with the live band and/or the other people in the room. Since human beings are naturally social creatures, this creation of unity through music and rhythm has shown increased brain waves, feelings of joy, and overall release of endorphins. Due to these increased similar feelings between random people, we begin to develop the new feeling of trust and security between these other people simply due to the rhythm and music being played.
On a similar spectrum, it has been shown that those who take part in musical activities also benefit mentally and physically. In another recent study (2), it was shown that people who sing for thirty minutes display increased oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is a hormone that plays the role of a neurotransmitter and provides the body the sensation of pleasure commonly attributed to sexual intercourse. Also, some studies have begun to show that even listening to music can release certain levels of oxytocin.
Overall, through music and rhythm, we are able to not only unite as human beings, but also impact each other’s lives in a positive manner. The Alchemy Sky Foundation utilizes music and its various forms of therapy to both guide and change the lives of those who search for or are in the need for the healing that music possesses.
- Tarr, B., Launay, J., & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2014). Music and social bonding: “self-other” merging and neurohormonal mechanisms. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1096. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01096
- Grape Viding, Christina & Sandgren, Maria & Hansson, Lars-Olof & Ericson, Mats & Theorell, Töres. (2002). Does Singing Promote Well-Being?: An Empirical Study of Professional and Amateur Singers During a Singing Lesson. Integrative physiological and behavioral science : the official journal of the Pavlovian Society. 38. 65-74. http://cultura-vitalis.se/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/solos%C3%A5ng-artikel.pdf