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To Feel, to Embody, to Experience: The Importance of Music in a Pandemic

In a society that’s been robbed of touch, we’ve learnt to look to sound as a replacement…

Before we’re even brought into the world, we experience the rhythmic patterns of sound and without being taught, we match the echo of our mother’s voice with movement as a way of expressing our comfort. 

One of the five senses; sound enables us to feel, embody and experience life with constant narrative. Whilst music, specifically, is an integrated part of the human experiencetaken from the drumbeats of our ancestors and gentrified into streaming platforms among the masses. 

In times when a hug has been replaced with social distancing, a hand shake has been adopted into a wave, and a kiss has been thrown out the window entirely, we’ve had to develop ways of being touched, without physicality. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, the FT reported Spotify subscriber numbers surged to 130M – providing evidence that listeners turned to tunes in moments of crisis. To counteract the stress of the coronavirus lockdown, searches for calmer sounds and ‘wellness’ podcasts rose significantly. 

According to The Guardian, the pandemic saw a 20% rise in the streaming of music. Although the numbers and statistics are great for the CEO’s, marketing managers and musicians already making millions, the artists who are holding us together with their cords and choruses seem to be the ones struggling to survive. 

With gigs gone, bars closed, festivals cancelled, musicians have seen their income disappear. They’ve been hit hard. Not to mention the disrespect of UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak suggesting artists should retrain. How would we survive without their lyricism matching our moods and bringing us one step closer to normality. 

Keeping in contact with our friends and family has proved to be difficult, when one musters up the energy to spark a conversation, the other doesn’t reply. Sharing music – whether this be through a link or screenshot, with your lover, brothers and significant others is a way to move past this.  

A token of your trust, providing links to your playlists entitles those you love to pry into your mind, and gives the simplicity of explaining how you feel in that exact moment, without having to rid you of all your energy.  

What’s better about this creative communication, is it works as a promotion to those struggling artists, who, let’s face it, could use all the support in the world. Stream, share, repost, it’s free and it’s giving someone a living.  

If you’re not making music, you’re listening to it, moving your body to it, allowing your emotions to flow through it, it’s about finding comfort in the words of another. In the past, countless studies have proven music enhances depression and anxiety – without it, the rise in mental health issues and suicide over the past year would be significantly higher than the already heart-breaking figure. 

Without touch, music has provided a metaphorical shoulder to cry on. Each one of us creating a soundtrack to our lives through the cords of another. It’s connection, bounding us together, holding us up as one, united – even when 2M apart.  

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