Besides my day job here at W24, I moonlight as a DJ. I spend a lot of time listening to music for my personal pleasure and finding new tracks to share with guests at events never feels like work.
I hope to never have to make a choice between which of the senses I could do without, but forced to choose, I would have to say that I would be devastated if I lost my hearing.
I’ve long thought about why and recent articles detailing how some of us react physically when we take in certain sounds partly answer why I feel this way.
A piece in Indy100.com called If music gives you goosebumps, your brain might be special talks about a study conducted by a former Harvard undergrad Matthew Sachs on the subject.
Apparently "experiencing sensations like goosebumps or a lump in the throat when listening to music is quite rare and unique" Sachs took brain scans of 20 individuals and found that "those who managed to make the emotional and physical attachment to music actually have different brain structures than those who don’t."
On a completely unscientific bent, I’ve always found this. From a very early age I’ve only ever established a true connection with friends and lovers who have found music haunting, healing or had a strong reaction to particular sounds or tracks.
Not that research that pulls info from less than two-dozen people is exactly a definitive sample but never mind. What’s really interesting is what he found. Half of the people he tested admitted to getting the chills when they listened to music.
The other half didn’t. Those who did "tended to have a denser volume of fibres that connect their auditory cortex and areas that process emotions, meaning the two can communicate better."
Meaning what? That you tend to experience stronger or more intense emotions.
As Teen Vogue puts it, "if your skin responds to music, that could mean that you feel all the feels."
I’d put myself in this group but beyond simple navel-gazing, there could be a greater social impact in how this analysis could help with the treatment of depression.
Sachs says, "Depression causes an inability to experience pleasure of everyday things. You could use music with a therapist to explore feelings."
I know that personally the euphoria I enjoy when I listen to particular music has helped get me through some of the toughest times in my life and created some of the happiest moments I’ve shared with loved ones.