Comfort From Music

By Irene Sanchez, Editor-in-chief

A version of this article appeared in issue 2 of the Viking Scroll.

The music we listen to can strongly influence our life. It can help improve memory, motivate us, improve mood, and reduce anxiety and depression.

Teachers may not like when kids have their earphones on during class because music can be distracting and have a negative effect on task performance and concentration.

Although this is sometimes true, I believe that music is beneficial to students and people in general.

A study by Baylor University professors had 50 students ages 18-33 listen to classical music such as Beethoven’s Moonlight sonata, Vivaldi’s ‘Spring’ (the Four Seasons) and Chopin’s ‘Nocturne in E-flat major.’

Half of the participants played the same pieces throughout the night as they slept, while the other half slept with white noise.

White noise contains all frequencies at equal intensity, which can mask loud sounds that stimulate our brains. Researchers found that the group listening to music performed 18 percent higher on an exam the following day.

Music has helped me focus and I’m able to concentrate on the teacher even with an earbud in, and I know many other people who feel the same way.

When I can’t sleep because I’m thinking about random things or I’m just not sleepy, music can help me feel calmer and make me sleep.

Actively listening to music can help regulate our moods. Due to its rhythmic and repetitive aspects, music engages our neocortex, calming us down and reducing our impulsiveness.

We often utilize music to match or alter our moods. While there are benefits to this, it can also keep us stuck in a depressive or anxious state.

Listening to sad music can sometimes start cycles of negative thinking, often evoking sad memories and negative thoughts. On the other hand, sad music allows for emotional expression and powerful hormonal release, which is healthy.

The key is to be mindful of how the music is affecting you. Change the song if it’s reenforcing sad emotions. 

To alter mood states, we can play music that matches our mood and then slowly shift to a more positive or calm state. 

Upbeat music can make you feel more optimistic and positive about life. Research shows that music can also be comforting.

Also, if you aspire to be a musician, listening to music is a great way to get inspired and motivated to practice or write your own songs.


Some recommendations for classical piano music from Spotify not in the playlist are “Blue Bird” by BANANA FISH, “Clair de Lune, L. 32” by Claude Debussy, “Nocturne No.2” by Frédéric Chopin, “Mia & Sebastian’s Theme” by Kim Bo, and “Swarm of Fish” by Pianopassion.

Songs are interpreted in many different ways. You may relate to a song differently than someone else or you may think it has another meaning than another. Music is a great way to understand yourself or other people. Here are 12 songs that I like and their meanings.

rises the moon – Liana Flores (English)The song describes changes in life, reassuring all that despite the difficulties in adjusting to change, a beautiful consistency (in this case, the moon) will always remain.
Soap- Melanie Martinez (English)“Soap” is about being vulnerable and being afraid to express deeper feelings such as love, so it feels like “washing your mouth out with soap,” a practice in older days when adults used to use soap to wash the mouth of a child who would say bad words.
Butterfly- BTS (Korean)CW: This song can be interpreted as a symbolism of being scared to have life fly by or the fear of losing someone you love. When I hear this song I think it’s about loving someone who has suicidal thoughts, like, whether that’s you or someone you know. And it’s about reminding them how much they’re loved by the people around them.
The Truth Untold- BTS (Korean)The moral of the story, as interpreted by BTS, is that people are entrapped in the depths of misery and darkness due to the lack of self-love and confidence. The protagonist would have probably felt much better if he had talked to his crush and confronted his fears and insecurities.
What is Love?- TWICE (Korean)This song is about the girls wondering about the feeling of love. It seems as though their wonder for love comes from movies, books, and dramas, after all these sources are quite descriptive of this mysterious emotion. They use cliche examples of how love is described to get the point across that love is something that brings a euphoric feeling even though the girls haven’t felt it before. They wait for love to come to them but soon become impatient stating that “I can’t take it much longer.”
Where’d All the Time Go?- Dr. Dog (English)The meaning of this song is that time is flying way too fast and the artist wishes time could be turned back. Another interpretation I see is the thought of getting old and dying with a head full of nostalgia and memories that are growing farther and farther away every day.
I lost a Friend- FINNEAS (English)This song is about losing connection and drifting apart from a close friend. I relate to this sing because I drifted away from a lot of my childhood friends during COVID. “I know I’ll be alright but I’m not tonight” is a line I love in the song because I felt that way when I first realized that we weren’t as close as we were.

“How the hell did I lose a friend I never had?” is another line I love because I believe that both people should put effort into a friendship for it to work. One person shouldn’t have to be the one to communicate with the other all the time and they shouldn’t feel that the friendship would fall apart if they don’t put in the work. I felt that way in a lot of my old friendships and that’s why I like that line. I think it’s as they never consider me a close friend like I did because I did all the work in the friendship.

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