The instrumental role music plays in your life
Think of any of your favorite blockbuster films (For me, it’s Star Wars, Mission Impossible, The Avengers and the Guardians of The Galaxy) chances are you can recall the films’ soundtracks just as easily as you can the plots.
It’s no accident filmmakers dedicate so much time, energy, and treasure to a film’s title score. After all, the opening music sets the tone for the entire film. If the music falls flat, chances are, so will ticket sales.
This will surprise absolutely no one, but movie producers aren’t the only ones who’ve discovered the motivational power of music. Advertisers have turned to it since the advent of broadcast, probably even before. After all, what would a radio spot for a hospital be without the soft chords of a piano to tug at your heartstrings?
Sports teams have long since used music and marching bands to control the tempo of a game or to keep fans engaged even in a yawner. Heck, even your spinning instructor knows to throw on some heart-pumping, dig-even-deeper heavy metal for that final homestretch sprint.
So, what is it about music that makes it so appealing?
Well, first, did you know music stimulates the same region of your brain sex does?
In fact, the only stimuli other than music to tickle this same region are recreational drugs and exceptionally good tasting food. And, yes, like sex, both music and food have been known to elicit an…ahem…not going to go there.
But, cold showers aside, there’s ample scientific evidence of the powerful psychological and physiological effect music has on our moods, emotion, and endurance. So powerful, in fact, music has been banned from some sporting events for the unfair advantage it gives to those who listen to it.
Turns out, music stimulates our sympathetic nervous system—with the power to increase endurance, reduce fatigue, and increase our physiological arousal. Studies have found that joggers who listen to music as they run, run faster while using less oxygen.
These studies have also found that not only does music have the capacity to short-circuit brain signals associated with fatigue, burnout, and boredom, but it also synchronizes brain signals, boosting perceptual, cognitive, and motor processes.
Think about it. If marketers, sports teams, spinning coaches, and movie producers have all discovered the evocative power of music to motivate you into action—just imagine the potent potential you have to set the tone for your own day. Without a prescription, no less.
As Twilight Zone-y as this may sound, your reality changes when your mood does. Simply listening to happy or sad music has a substantial and measurable impact on how you perceive the world.
Knowing this, you can create playlists with specific outcomes in mind. Whether to overcome fatigue for that final push up a steep hill, the gloom of an overcast day, or even a stubborn subconscious resisting an approaching deadline, the right playlist can make mole hills out of mountains.
As a copywriter, it’s a tool I use every day. Not just to set the mood in a video script or radio spot, but to set the trajectory and tempo for the day ahead. Although music tastes may vary, and no one song effects everyone the same way, I’m happy to share a few of my own prescription-strength playlists:
Wake up alarm: “I Am Not A Robot” by Marina and the Diamonds
- “Fight Song” performed by Rachel Platten
- “Good Old Days” performed by Macklemore
- “Unwritten” performed by Natasha Bedingfield
- “Born This Way” performed by Lady Gaga
- “The Climb” performed by Miley Cyrus
- “Skyscraper” performed by Demi Lovato
- “The Monster” performed by Eminem
- “Crumblin’ Down” performed by John Mellencamp
- “Crazy” performed by Seal
- “Survivor” performed by 2WEI
- “This Is Me” performed by Keala Settle
- “Roar” performed by Katy Perry
- “The Mountain” performed by Three Days Grace
- “Lose Yourself” perfomed by Eminem
- “Cello Concerto in B-Flat” by Luigi Boccherini
- “Lakmé” by Léo Delibes
- “Gianni Schicchi” by Giacomo Puccini
- “Nessun Dorma!” by Giacomo Puccini
- “Gabriel’s Oboe” by Ennio Morricone
- “Romeo and Juliet, Op 64” by Sergei Prokofiev
- “The Hebrides, Op. 26” by Felix Mendelssohn
- “La Javanaise” by Madeleine Peyroux
- “Violin Concerto in D, Op.35” by Pyotr LLyich Tchaikovsky
- “Dream a Little Dream of Me” performed by Dala
- “Go” performed by Kris Orlowski
- “Both Sides Now” performed by Joni Mitchell
- “Clumsy Mirror” performed by Smokey Brights
- “By Your Side” performed by Sade
- “Hit the road, Paulo” performed by Taberna Flotante
- “California Dreamin” performed by Diana Krall
- “Zero Winter” performed by Planes on Paper
- “Theme from the Magnificent Seven” by Elmer Bernstein
- “Low” performed by Flo Rida
- “Into You” performed by Ariana Grande
- “Breathe” performed by Jax
- “Run Around” performed by the Blues Travelers
- “Up On the Roof” performed by Billy Lewis’ Nu Drifters
- “Bang Bang” performed by Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj
- “Holly Holy” performed by Neil Diamond
- “I Gotta Feeling” performed by the Black Eyed Peas
- “Magic Carpet Ride” performed by Steppenwolf
- “Problem” performed by Ariana Grande
- “Here Comes The Sun” performed by the Beatles
- “Just Dance” performed by Lady Gaga
- “Brandy (You’re a fine girl)” performed by Looking Glass
- “He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother” performed by Neil Diamond
- “Swish Swish” performed by Katy Perry
- “Train in Vain” performed by the Clash
- “Got To Get You Into My Life” performed by Earth, Wind and Fire
- “These Boots Are Made For Walking” performed by Nancy Sinatra
- “I Like Bread and Butter” performed by John Wessel