Some people tend to view music as simple entertainment. But this is without taking into account the essential role that the fourth art can play in managing emotions and negative life experiences, especially among young people.
The British Youth Music Association looked into this phenomenon in its latest report. It follows a similar study dating from 2021, in which we learned that some young people turn to lyrical writing to better understand the events they experience.
The organization decided to once again survey Britons aged 16 to 24 on how they take care of their mental health, as numerous reports have shown that morale among this age group is low. particularly at half mast since the Covid-19 epidemic.
It turns out that the overwhelming majority of young people interviewed see musical expression as a mechanism of adaptation and resilience. In fact, 93% of them say that listening, reading or writing song lyrics is a therapeutic tool. Three-quarters of respondents believe that this activity allows them to deal with difficult emotions.
Focus on yourself and others
For a long time, the virtues of music on mental health have been demonstrated empirically. But advances in neuroimaging techniques have allowed scientists to precisely identify the modifications that the fourth art can cause in our brain. The most recent discoveries show that listening to or practicing music activates the production of a certain number of neurotransmitters (dopamine, adrenaline, endorphins, etc.) which affect mood.
It is therefore not surprising that so many 16-24 year olds say that music helps them feel better. Nicola Dibben, professor of music science and psychology at the University of Sheffield, notes that the virtues of the fourth art are felt all the more among young people when they actively participate in its creation. “In the case of music, lyrics occupy a particularly interesting place: it is well established that music is a very effective way for young people to self-regulate their mood, and a sound context can add a relevant non-discursive environment in which it may be possible to say things that may seem too difficult to express in other contexts,” she said in the Youth Music report.
If young people are more able to refocus on themselves thanks to music, this art also helps them to get closer to others. The majority of 16-24 year olds surveyed say that music allows them to overcome their feelings of loneliness and isolation (54%). It is interesting to note that this opinion is less widespread among their elders since only 22% of British people aged 55 and over say that listening to or practicing music has this positive effect on them.