We’re Killing Our Music

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Kyler Troy Dennis (LI-TE), Journalist

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A young man sits and listens to his favorite song. He starts tapping his toes, then he claps his hands. He starts banging his head to the music as he sings as loud as he can. He’s having a good time. But what’s happening inside his head? What is happening with his emotions?

To answer this we need to understand what emotions really are. The definition of emotion on Wikipedia is “any conscious experience characterized by intense mental activity and a certain degree of pleasure or displeasure.”

So now we’ve defined emotions, but what does this have to do with our head banging teenager and his song? When he first started listening to music, it triggered his pleasure sensors in his brain to release a chemical called dopamine. This dopamine causes the brain to feel happy. So music is good for him, right?

But music will lose this effect. Let’s say he puts this song on repeat. The first time he played the song the dopamine fired at one-hundred and ten percent, but the second time around, the dopamine was only released at one-hundred and five percent. From there, the snowball effect sets in, until the dopamine levels out near zero. For someone to enjoy music, they must be constantly switching songs so that their favorite songs don’t lose the “feel good” effect.

In this lies the problem. You see, our young man loves the song he’s listening to, so he plays it on repeat for a while. But this causes him to not experience the song the same way later. The same drop and guitar solo he loved so much doesn’t have the same effect on him anymore.

This causes the song to no longer be his favorite. He moves on, forgetting his old favorite song.

Thus, we are the ones killing our favorite music. So save your favorite songs from extinction and listen to some variety.

How Does Music Affect Your Brain?” Ashford University, 7 June 2017.

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