Why Do People Listen to Music?

Sascha Kohlmann/CC-BY-SA 2.0

People listen to music to manage their moods, to enhance a workout, to bond with other people and as a distraction from daily life. Listening to music can provide health benefits to those suffering from certain conditions, such as chronic back pain and memory loss.

Music provides pleasure to the listener and helps manage negative emotions such as stress and anxiety by providing an escape. Listeners can feel better if a song describes emotions similar to what they are feeling. Music can stimulate positive emotions by entertaining the listener, and it can be a personal and a social experience. When used in a group setting, music can give people something to discuss or bring them together through dancing. Certain songs, such as national anthems or school songs, can unite a group of people.

Listeners can use music to distract themselves from boredom during a car commute. Music, particularly classical music, benefits those with back or muscle pain by relaxing muscular and psychological tension. Music can reduce anxiety and enhance orientation in people with memory loss. It also influences personal identity. People can learn about themselves through their musical choices, as a person’s favorite genres or songs can be a form of personal expression.