Music: an auditory glue that brings people closer together. No matter the situation, these symphonies create a magical effect that makes us feel connected with those we share them with.
Music is a universal experience, being present everywhere in our lives. Most of us hear music from the moment we’re born by our mothers’ lullabies, and also through important events in life like graduations, weddings, and funerals. Every single person that experiences these events have all connected in some way with the music played during them.
Why Do We Feel Connected With Music?
Crazy enough, there’s actually scientific proof as to why we resonate with music so much. According to a couple of researchers at MIT, we have a dedicated part in our brain that processes music, which explains why music is so important in our lives.
Following along, listening to music with others has been shown to directly impact neurochemicals in the brain, which is an important role in the creation of closeness and connection with others.
How Do We React to Music?
The Release of Endorphins
More research concludes that playing music or singing together with others can bring us closer through the release of endorphins.
The National Library of Medicine conducted a study about performing music with others. They conducted that performing with others, whether it be through singing, drumming, or dancing, resulted in participants having higher pain thresholds than participants who listened to music alone. This basically means that they had an increased endorphin release in the brain. Along with that, performing with others brought them much more happiness.
Another study brings up another possibility – instead of music being connected with the release of endorphins, music can also help create a sense of group identity.
Researchers Chris Loerch and Nathan Arbuckle performed multiple studies about musical reactivity (how someone is affected by listening to music) related to group processes. Examples of these processes are the sense of belonging in a group and positive associations with group members.
The researchers conducted that musical reactivity is casually related to basic social motivations. The reactiveness to music plays a role in successful group living. This means that the music we share can help us find identity in groups and affiliate with them.
How Does Music Do This?
The big question is how is music truly capable of bringing us together? Some researchers believe the rhythm helps us sync up our brains and coordinate our movements with others, which makes the rest of a group follow along. Apparently, our coordinating movement through music can increase our sense of community and parasocial behavior.
Another study shows how important this tendency of ours to synchronize is. Adults listened to one of two types of music: rhythmic music and arrhythmic music, then engaged in a task that involved cooperating with others and coordinating their movements. The participants that listened to the rhythmic music finished their tasks more efficiently than those who didn’t. This shows that the rhythm in music promotes behaviors in us which are linked to social cohesion.
Essentially, music helps us with our social relationships. It’s no wonder that when two or more people want to bond with another, music is a great way to promote it. Whether its in concerts, group band sessions, or even casual hangouts where we softly play music in the back, music ties us together.