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  • Maya Chavez

Music: a mood mediator and a gateway to memories

Music immerses listeners into the moment they are living and back into past memories.

Music has become an unrelenting source of entertainment in many people's lives. Whether a tune is quietly playing as you walk through a grocery store, or your teammates blast music during a difficult practice. Music is a constant in everyday life, but its purpose and qualities can change with every situation. Ninth grader Mario Salim explains how music enhances his mood and motivation: “I'm doing things like playing soccer or working out, I always listen to music, and I feel like that boosts my happiness and makes me focus more.”

Junior Michelle Henaku explains music’s presence in her life: “It's probably one of the most important things in my life. When I first started getting into music, it was something that I attached to my identity because music is something that everyone can connect with, and sharing that with my friends and people I care about was like my biggest form of connection.” Junior Sabrina Hardin shares her take, “It's like an escape. It lets me kind of relax and just kind of be free in my own thoughts.” She explains that the genre she listens to changes based on the moment: “If I'm very stressed I'll probably listen to something calm. If I want to feel more happy I'll listen to something happy and uplifting, like Ice Cube or the Outkast. I have seven different playlists just for moods.” Similarly, sophomore Gigi Theroux explains that music will not necessarily lift the mood, but rather meet her needs in the moment and allow her to process her feelings, “I feel like if I'm in a bad space, it won't take me to a better space. And it won’t take me out of the bad space but it'll provide clarity– help me work through that space.”

While music is known for being a great mood mediator it is also a great way to capture a memory in a more fluid way than a photo. Henaku relates, “When I first started getting into music, during the pandemic, I listened to a lot of indie and rock music. So when I listen to that [now], it reminds me of that time and first coming to Stevenson.” She adds that this nostalgic quality of music can tie us to those around us: ”A lot of my music taste comes from my friends. And so oftentimes, when I listen to a song or an artist they show me I’ll think of the time when we first heard it together.” Music can be an alternative to photos in this sense by taking us back to a specific moment in time or connection with someone. Hardin elaborates, “I feel like obviously looking at pictures, it'd be like, ‘Oh, I remember that day. But you can't remember every single little detail like [you can] with music. I remember dancing with them and in their kitchen and I remember remembering every single word to the song and screaming our hearts out and screaming in each other's faces to this song and crying to these songs… Music helps me remember the fun part of [a moment], the more happy parts of it. Theroux agrees, “Music can kind of bring you back to the past and in that moment, rather than just like observing.”


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