Sunday, May 19, 2024

Mood echoes music

The MTV Video Music Awards held its 32nd celebration on Aug. 30 in Los Angeles, California. The annual award show is always full of scandals, surprises and speeches. This year was no exception. Sometimes the celebrity antics can overshadow the real reason behind the award show: the music.

Music is more accessible today than ever before. It’s on televisions, in cars and even in pockets, with music services such as Pandora and Spotify. Thousands of students walk through campus daily. Most of them have one thing in common, headphones. Either in their ears or around their neck, music seems to be an essential part of the day.

Daniel Gordon, professor of music and director of the symphonic band and saxophone ensemble at Plattsburgh State, said it is an honor to teach music to students.

“I feel privileged to make music on a daily basis,” Gordon said. “I get to stand up and talk about what I am passionate about.”

He also said his band ensemble welcomes all instrument players into the group. The ensemble is made up of about 50 percent music majors, with the other half being filled by students of various majors, including nursing; biology; communication studies; and hotel, restaurant and tourism management students.

Gordon praised this year’s ensemble, noting the group is supportive of one another and “wonderfully well-balanced,” although they are in need of French Horn players. He said music is a stress-buster for those who play and listen.

“I used to say I liked everything but country, but I’m starting to like country now too so I like all kinds of music,” junior audio/radio production major Timothy Everhardt said. “And I like when I’m listening to some song and I think of something that happened and how the song relates to it, and I get tingly.”

Science is starting to suggest that music can affect our brains, influencing the way we act or feel throughout the day. A student at the University of Missouri, Yuna Ferguson, conducted a study in May 2013 that has found that upbeat music can improve a listener’s mood over time and eventually lead to a greater quality of overall living.

In an article on, a site that focuses on health and wellness, Emily Lewis, a graduate student at the California Institute of Integral Studies, discusses her thesis based on the idea of vocal improvisation and how music affects the brain.

Lewis researched telomeres, the end caps of DNA strands. First, Lewis concluded the longer strands of telomeres correlate with overall quality of life and longevity. Lewis then concluded that participating in vocal singing exercises and practices could potentially be a practice of mindfulness, which is related to longer telomere lengths.

Best Binaural Beats, a blog focused on mood-altering beats and music production, published an article titled “How Music Affects Our Mood.” The article suggests that music affects our mood based on rhythm and tone. The beat of a listener’s heart begins to sync with the rhythm of the piece to which are listening. A slower heartbeat relays a message of sadness or depression to the brain, while a faster beating shows excitement and a slower upbeat rhythm relays love or joy to the brain.

The article suggests ways to fully take advantage of music improving mood. Listening to upbeat music in the morning can get your brain in gear for the rest of the day. At the end of a long day, music can also help decrease anxiety levels through light listening and meditation.

It also said to avoid long durations of rock or heavier music. This genre can cause a rise in heartbeat, which relays anxiety to the brain.

As a listener, taking breaks from listening is also crucial. The brain needs time to define the distinction between music as a therapeutic tool and natural downtime in order for the music to boost overall happiness.

Email Marissa Russo at

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