Music Rewires the Brain

Without a thought, the first thing I would do when I wake up was put on my earphones and play music on my phone. Only after that would I proceed with my morning routine.

I did this for many years.

An action repeated over and over creates a habit. We become our habits.

I listened to music almost all the time – in the car, at the gym, at home, doing chores.

The thought of music influencing the mind in a profound way never crossed my mind.

I believe music has the power to rewire the brain. For better or worse. Mostly worse, with music nowadays. I don’t think most people think of music that way, unless explicitly vile or obscene.

I knew this subconsciously, when I had to lift heavy objects at the gym and felt nervous I would blast Eminem’s Till I Collapse to max volume to psych myself up and it usually worked. Or when I’m driving at night and a sad song came on, it would make me think of and become emotional about the past.

cassette walkman
Photo by Simone Acquaroli

Modern music seems to make you feel good, like a drug. An addiction that you need more of. Perhaps it’s my addictive personality because I listen to the same song on repeat until I finally get sick of the song.

I recently read a guy saying he doesn’t listen to angry music. Before, I would think he was just dumb.

Classical music seems to be an exception, a friend introduced me to it about 2-3 years ago. I’m sure there are other exceptions.

I’m on my 4th day of purposely not listening to any (modern) music. There are times when old habits kick in and my fingers navigate to the music app by themselves, it takes willpower to shut it down.

I’ll see how it feels after about a month.

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