In With the Old: Music Trends Back to Old School Relaxation

7 minute read

For the first time in history, old music is selling faster than new music. We have essentially entered a time warp as cataloged albums outsell new releases. This could all be due to the revived interest in vinyl that the DJ scene has created. Or maybe people are feeling exceptionally nostalgic these days. Given that fashion trends recycle from time to time, it seemed inevitable that it would happen to music, too.

What Does Music Do For Your Health?

Neuroscientists have found that music heightens positive emotion and stimulates the reward center of your brain. In fact, all centers of the brain are touched by music, which highlights the potential music can have for healing.

Music has long had a role in cultures and histories around the world with regards to healing, which has prompted research today to focus on the ways that music can improve health and heal.

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Reduced stress and anxiety: Slow tempo and low pitches have been shown to be very soothing and relaxing. Think of the melodies that are played during meditations and yoga classes. Music lowers the stress hormone cortisol, as well as heart rate and blood pressure.

In fact, patients recovering from surgery, who listened to music in recovery, showed decreased cortisol and required less morphine for pain. Lullabies are known to calm babies, particularly if the person singing is the primary caregiver.

Decreased pain: Music has a unique ability to help with pain management. A study with fibromyalgia patients found that the group exposed to music a few times a week had fewer depressive symptoms and significant pain reduction. While the method is not clear, it is thought that music releases dopamine which is the feel-good hormone. Additionally, the lowering of stress hormones reduces pain.  

Improved immune function: IgA is a very important antibody for our immune system and studies have shown that exposure to music causes increases in this antibody. The already known effect music has on reducing stress supports our immune systems, too.

Our body goes into fight or flight mode under any stress, perceived or real, slowing our immune responses. Reduced stress through music can have a positive impact on immunity.

Improved memory: Kids today always seem to want music playing while they study and our natural reaction is to think it is a distraction. However, research proved that singing phrases or memorizing information to a tune or beat improves recall. Additionally, Alzheimer's patients who partake in singing lessons or sessions of listening to music show improved mood, orientation and memory.

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Exercise support: Working out always seems easier with a beat. Music provides motivation and at the same time, prevents us from counting down the minutes until the workout is over. The distraction is often so great, that workout session go on for longer than originally intended.  

Listening to music is also associated with oxygen consumption levels. Exercisers tend to synchronize their movements accordingly and use more oxygen when working out to a faster beat. Exercise is well-known for increasing the release of feel-good hormones, so when combined with music, you are sure to be in a good mood.

The Old School Vibe

We know why music is good for us, and we know that there has been a recent spike in older music sales, but is there something more to this? What exactly is causing older music to gain in popularity these days?

Nostalgia bump: Music serves as a powerful memory cue for most people. Hearing a song from your high school or college years can bring you back in time. We may associate certain artists or albums with events from the past.

More variety: It may seem unlikely but there are actually five times as many old artists as there are new debuts. Expanding your selection into original artists and old school sounds gives you more variety and option to find what you need.

Hidden treasures: Certain artists from back in the day are still played on the radio today, but not all of their hits. When you go back in time and find all their albums, you end up with a lot more good stuff.

Better sounds: Artists today are predominantly driven by image and music actually comes second. Older artists put music first and image was often not even relevant. What you get when you select older tracks is a focus on music, which may be more healing for your soul.

Too much technology: technology is a part of life today and infiltrates everything, even music. So many sounds are digital with voice distortions and sound effects, that the true music gets drowned out.

Again, people may be able to relate to older music better in terms of a story or the lyrics. It is easier to relax and enjoy a song with meaning.

More clarity: With the popularity of hip hop and its influences, there are a number of genres now that collaborate and mix. With all the mixing of genres, it is difficult to find a sound you like.

Albums now have a little of everything whereas artists used to have a single style and sound and you were guaranteed to get that when you bought an album. Not knowing what you are going to get these days can be off-putting and nerve wrecking.  

The Bottom Line

Life would be pretty dull without music. Once you learn that music is beneficial for your health, it makes you wonder why you don't listen more often. Whatever your style or sound, incorporating music into your life is relaxing and energizing, depending on what you need it to be. Think of music as a really good support system, a reliable workout partner and a good companion for a spiritual journey.

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