“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― Plato
Have you ever thought about how the artist of your new favorite song came up with the perfect lyrics or the perfect rhythm to tailor your own liking? I’m guessing you have, hence why you came directly to this post.
Music is what most of us turn to whether it be at our happiest moments, darkest times, or simply to get out of our own head. This form of art can be said to inspire our world as a way of celebrating joyous occasions or make us think about the people we love.
Think about the last time you heard a song you truly could not live without. You probably played it about 50 times before you got sick of it or maybe you have it as your new ringtone. No matter the case, this song made you feel some sort of emotion(s), imaginative or possibly gave you some sort of motivation to do the thing you never thought you would do.
It’s important to first take a quick look at the science behind it all. Researchers have found that for an artist to create music, they don’t rely on one part of the brain or just simply one redundant process. Instead, to make music it looks at a place called the prefrontal cortex. This special place encapsulates all the creative juice necessary to become the imaginative artist we long to be. Other functions of the brain such as its active memory buffer is essential since it allows for the retention of corresponding knowledge while problem-solving.
It is also important to note that while music artists create the music we love, mental images come to them spontaneously or consciously whether the artist is in a cognitive or emotional state. This creative behavior can be said to use four psychological processes such as the deliberate cognitive, deliberate emotional (otherwise known as that “aha moment”), spontaneous cognitive and spontaneous emotional (aka epiphany).
The deliberate cognitive allows the brain to gain focused attention and connections to previous stored information. Whereas the deliberate emotion connects with stored long-term memory which is correlated to that positive “aha” moment we can frequently get from the amygdala. Furthermore, the spontaneous cognitive produces automatic behaviors from dopamine where it has control without using conscious awareness. Lastly, the spontaneous emotion is said to use active memory that comes from the amygdala in spontaneous ways where emotions from previous events or fervent events are stored.
In a recent article published by Rolling Stone Björn Ulvaeus known for being one of the greatest songwriters in history from ABBA and CISAC’s new president, did an interview based on creator empowerment. His advice for young songwriters is to “Keep at it and not to consider a song finished until all parts are the best you could do.” The interview further mentions how he used to create music versus how it is today. Sitting in a room with one of his partners with a handy guitar and stand-up piano is all they needed. However, he realizes that today is not the same process. “Now, there can be 15 songwriters on one song, with each songwriter good at a different thing.”
I recently did a similar interview myself with Gabriel Argate, a student from Wagner College where he shared with me some of his take on music inspiration and creativity. Gabriel has been singing since he was 3 years old, and has furthered his career in theatre and arts. In this interview, he was able to shed light on the music industry and his experiences. Not comparing yourself to others, being your true self, and listening to artists such as Adele is what gives him the motivation to sing everyday. Recognizing that music is one of the most inspiring forms of art that exist today, he sees music as a way of expressing yourself through every emotion and creativity that crosses your mind.
This art is inventive, creative, and inspiring. Through the works of the human brain and the added emotions that intertwine, music creates the ultimate “vibe” for all.
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