There have been many misconceptions made about entertainment. Television melts your brain, music distracts you, video games make you violent – not only are these misconceptions wrong, they are actually limiting genuine methods people can use to become better versions of themselves. Music therapy, for instance, is not a new concept, despite how many people seem surprised that it exists. Music therapy is beneficial also both from a listening and a playing standpoint, and can help people relax, can help them cope with disabilities, and can even improve their learning ability.
Music is universal. It is one of the few languages that can be understood by everyone on this planet. Even the deaf can feel the beats and the vibrations and can enjoy music in their own way. In fact, there has been significant advancements in technologies that allow you to hear music through your skull, rather than through your eardrum. Music can make you feel pumped, it can make you dance, it can be your companion as you cry. So why is it always so surprising that music can go further than that? That it can help us concentrate, help us learn, and do so much more?
The same applies to video games. Only recently have academics begun to genuinely consider the video game format as a valuable learning tool. Having fun while you learn is not a bad thing. In fact, it can help people of all ages understand and retain information better than the traditional methods. Extensive research and development have begun to create games that can help children learn coding, and even help those manage their ADHD. Soon, every fun opportunity will also be an opportunity to learn, because there is no better environment.
Countries have already begun to place an emphasis on coding as a core curriculum as well. This means that not only will we have an increased coding-literate population, we will also have a more varied and inter-sectional coding populace as well. This means great things are coming to the world of video games. Already there are huge projects that have exceeded everything that it means to be a game, like with the crowd-funding project Star Citizen. This huge game is a project of love, and it deviates massively from the already formulaic approach the big corporations like EA have taken towards video games. In the future, with more coders and a more diverse amount of people interested in coding, we will see more independent creations that push the boundaries of what a video game can be, and what it can do.
These two areas combine and intersect as well. For instance, video game background music has been found to be incredibly useful for getting people focused and pumped. One industry that truly mastered the art of background music is the online gambling industry. Try playing a slot game like Pink Elephants and you’ll get a good understanding of how the music entices people to keep playing.
Different beats cause different responses. Not all music will help you focus, not all music will help you relax, not all music will help you feel. What music does that is different than, for instance, listening to the general din of your surroundings is it lets you block it out. This is partially because listening to music releases dopamine to the brain, which in turn makes the task at hand much more pleasant. Melodies can also change your mood, by affecting your adrenaline. Fast-paced songs pump you out, slow-paced songs allow you to slow down. Songs can affect how we think, and how we feel, and that’s just melodies. Songs that have vocals can do a lot more.
We are genetically inclined to hear the human voice. That is why you can hear a singer over the instruments, and why you can hear voices through the walls in your flat when you might not have noticed the sound of walking. Lyrics tell a story, and that story coupled with the melody of both the instruments and the human voice has a way of evoking and creating emotions within the recipient.
Music is important in all areas of life. It can help you express your joy. It can help you calm down when you are in a tense situation. Music should not be stifled, because it is the everyday sounds that can distract a wandering mind. Music therapy, video games, all of these should be adopted further into our society. In how we teach, how we learn, and how we work. We can be so much better if we work with what our brain craves, instead of working against it in a sense of “propriety”.
Music is the language of our souls, and it can help us relate, help us manage our moods, it can help us work and be productive and so much more. That is why studies and disciplines revolve around music, from music therapy, to development, to academics. Music can make you feel, and it can help you relax. Music is the expression of our humanity, and it can be used to help us manage our emotions.