Serenity Song: The Calming Effects of Music

Chief Opinions Editor, Jessica Ene

Music has become an integral part of young people’s life. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that many students would feel deeply irritated at the thought of forgetting their AirPods at home.

Many people intuitively understand the power of music in relation to mood. Just look at the popularity of “relaxation” playlists on Spotify. The public playlist “Lo-Fi beats” currently has over 5 million saves. The serene effects of music are supported by a 2020 study, revealing that calming music can lower cortisol levels, a hormone associated with stress.

One study by the Journal of Biology explored the responses experienced in the brain when listening to music. The limbic system, which is associated with processing emotions, experiences an increase in activity when a person listens to music.

Another study also shows that listeners often form links between particular points in their life and songs. It showed that music had the ability to evoke “autobiographical memories”. In short, a familiar musical arrangement can trigger strong feelings of nostalgia. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of satisfaction, can also increase when listening to music.

On a less scientific level, we are truly in an amazing era of music. Previous generations had to purchase vinyls, cassette tapes or CD’s to hear their favourite records. We are blessed not only with the ability to access new music for free via YouTube, we also have apps like Spotify that create personalised playlists for its users.

We truly have an unprecedented level of freedom when it comes to what we listen to. We at The College View, encourage you to take advantage of this freedom, as well as the knowledge of music’s scientific effects. The idea of a serenity song is self-explanatory. We invite you to think of what song you would put on repeat to fall asleep, or when you want to relax on the bus after a day of lectures. It’s likely one or two songs stand out in your mind. Whether it’s the lyrical content or string arrangement that makes it resonate with you, rest assured that your stress levels are dipping with each replay.

Chief Opinions Editor, Jessica Ene