Looking Through the Eyes of Music: The Challenges of High School

Woman with headphones listening music

High school is full of stress, struggles, and sadness; music helps us cope with that and become the best people we can be.

Music plays a big role in emotions. It is added to movies to help better express how the characters are feeling. Music can be accessed on almost any technological device, and many people enjoy listening to and playing music in their free time. Studies have shown that music can help with depression and other psychological conditions.

Personally, music helps us study and remain focused when doing homework. We often realize that without music as the background of our daily lives,we become more distracted by the things around us. We also enjoy playing music. As a part of the band, we enjoy our rehearsals because they served as a break from the stressful world around us. Whenever we need a break from homework or other duties, we drift towards our music which serves as a positive outlet for our anxieties.

In this blog, we interviewed five people of different ages and genders to discover how they respond to different modes of music.  We also researched how music can impact emotions and affect self-esteem.

The first person we interviewed was one of our classmates, a 14-year-old female.  She listened to the song “True Friends” by Miley Cyrus and told us her thoughts and emotions after hearing it.

“Nobody is a real friend because nobody knows how to be a good friend. Everything is a competition, from your clothes to your grades, the home you grew up in, relationships, sports, clubs, makeup, how you wear your hair, and what jobs your parents have. The prettiest things get in the way of what drew you to your friends in the first place, and then you have to ask yourself why you are friends with those people. They don’t support me, they don’t listen when I talk to them, and I’m only here because I’m a benefit to them and it’s better than being alone and vice versa.”

The second person we interviewed was another one of our classmates, a 14-year old female.  She listened to the song “Say Something” by A Great Big World ft. Christina Aguilera and told us her thoughts and emotions after hearing it.

“It makes me want to dance. It is very much about silence and wanting one last word and I feel like that is a very interesting topic to discuss, especially in a pop song. It is definitely something that is very different, something you don’t always hear about. I feel like love stories and love songs are so common in today’s culture, while this one is very tragic and real. “To swallow your pride” and admitting that you’re going to stumble and fall are very real truths about life that I enjoyed hearing about in this song. It’s very tragic and it is all generally about silence; wanting to say something but not being able to is kind of how students and people in general feel silenced in the world that we live now. The lyrics and the music together are amazing, the music is so beautiful. Having rewatched the video, I feel like the music is what gives the song that edge.  On top of the lyrics, if you take them and separate them, the lyrics are very powerful in themselves, but the music is what gives the song something to hold on to. It really sets the tone of the song. It makes you want to relate to these experiences, it’s kind of sad and depressing. I have heard the song so many times, but it is still beautiful. It doesn’t affect me as deeply as I hoped it would, but the silence and the idea of asking for one more word really enhances the song. I am feeling a little inspired.”

The third person we interviewed was one of our female teachers.  She listened to the song “Break Free” by Ariana Grande and told us her thoughts and emotions after hearing it.

I listened to this song, and based on where I am in my life and my experiences, I felt a powerful, positive connection and strength (minus the very beginning or prelude to the song) with the parts of my life I want/need to separate from or remove. Bad habits or habits that formed at an earlier point in life when they were necessary to survive but now are no longer needed, unhealthy relationships, fear based-decision making, etc. are pieces I want/try to break free from in my life. I am very connected to life and all of its offerings, including music. So many seemingly insignificant moments have the ability to impact my life, to motivate me, to reach me. These small moments, often through lyrics in music like this one provided, remind me that I hold the power to create the change I want for my life; no one else is responsible for the actions I choose to make, or not make. I’m reminded of the freedom and real ability I always have to change or grow, even if/when it doesn’t happen immediately or completely. It’s the power to choose, to decide, that stirred and awakened when I listened to this song.”

The fourth person we interviewed was a junior, a 16-year-old male.  He listened to the song “We Don’t Talk Anymore” by Charlie Puth ft. Selena Gomez and told us his thoughts and emotions after hearing it.

“A friend that you are close to could leave and no longer be your friend at any moment. They will still care about you and worry about you without you even knowing it. Never being able to forget you and will think about you every night. He or she might not care about what you are wearing or what you look like but they do care about what you are doing and if you are ok. While they might say that they don’t care about you or show that they do not care around you when you are not near them they do everything they can to see if you are doing well.”

The fifth and final person we interviewed was another one of our classmates, a 14-year-old female. She listened to the song “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato and told us her thoughts and emotions after hearing it.

“This song makes me feel powerful over others. She talks about how people are taking everything she has like a bully or tormentor, but she is rising about it and being the better person. This ties into high school life because in school people get made fun of, and it brings you down. To get over it you have to rise above and be more powerful than them. High schoolers tend to feel lost and disappointed in their life. This song reflects those feelings in a way that relates to you. It helps express the feelings of sadness and grief for reasons that a high schooler would have. This song can be interpreted as anything from the loss of a family member to a break up. This song is one of the most inspiring and expressive songs for sadness.”

Chrome Musical Instrument Viewed on Heart Shaped Music Score Book

When we listen to music it transforms us. We are taken to a place where nothing matters and we can forget the world around us. The world is full of struggles and hardships. Music helps us escape from our anxieties and troubles.

Through the process of creating this blog, we came across very interesting research based on how music can almost heal emotional wounds in both teens and adults. According to Suzanna Boothby, music almost serves as therapy that can comfort and support a person to boost their self confidence. It also reduces depression and anxiety within people, especially teens (Boothby). Music can serve as a positive outlet for built up emotions. Someone may be able to relate to what the artist is singing or feeling in the song. It evokes the deepest emotions in us and helps us process depressing and painful events in our lifetime, even if they are in our subconscious (Goldstein). This is true for people with disabilities and medical conditions as well — “Listening to music can reduce chronic pain by up to 21 percent. . . it can also make people feel more in control of their pain and less disabled by their condition” (Blackwell Publishing).

See how music affects a man with alzheimers.

In addition to listening to music, playing an instrument can aid in self-expression which can positively impact a person’s feelings, especially when it is difficult to communicate about it verbally.  According to Health Communities, “Playing an instrument allows depressed people to express themselves nonverbally when they can’t easily talk about how they feel.”  Playing a rhythm or beat can even trigger this inside of us. Our heart beats in time to the beat of the music. When there is a slow song, our hearts beat slower and the opposite is true for faster songs. “A slow heartbeat with a strong diastolic pressure tells our brain that something sad or depressing is occurring. Very fast beating is obviously related to excitement, whereas a dreamy rhythm with occasional upbeats can signify love or joy” (How Music Affects Our Mood).

Music deeply affects people’s emotions. Whether it is just listening to music or playing an instrument, it has been proven to heal emotional wounds within a person and guide people through difficult stages in their life, especially for teens during high school.  High school is often considered one of the most challenging parts of a person’s life, but music helps to change that.  Comment below and tell us how music affects you and next time you’re feeling down in the dumps, we recommend that you consider listening to music and reaping its benefits.

Black Record Vinyl


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