We've got the news down to a science!

The Science Survey

We've got the news down to a science!

The Science Survey

We've got the news down to a science!

The Science Survey

Music’s Impact Upon Society

Music has been recognized as a core aspect of society, with both positive and negative effects.
Music is a safe space for most people and allows them to be their undeniably, authentic selves. The importance of music and the study of the effects on society, both negatively and positively, can help us to figure out why music has been and how it will continue to be a stable backbone in society. (Photo Credit: Jefferson Santos / Unsplash)

How does music affect society? 

There are many different ways this question can be answered, but there is one clear answer in that music allows people to enjoy fun, catchy beats alongside lyrics while doing their everyday tasks. Delving deeper into this question, however, inspires more food for thought. What has music contributed to society, and how has this affected the present day? 

According to historical journalist Evan Andrews, some of the earliest signs of music trace as far back as 43,000 years ago, where archaeologists found primitive flutes made of bone and ivory.  The earliest song was recorded on a 4,000-year-old Sumerian clay tablet.

Music is a powerful concept, with the ability to connect people emotionally, socially, and culturally. It is also an important tool for education, as many songs have profound messages to educate their listeners on certain topics. Music allows for a wide array of creativity, with musicians able to manipulate their instruments in ways most comfortable to them.

Music is intensely personal, and there are a multitude of different genres that give artists free range to explore and find which suits them best. To listeners, rather than musicians themselves, music can be used for entertainment, relaxation, background noise, or even an escape from reality. 

According to Aaron Reyes ’26, a Bronx Science student with a passion for creating music, “There is nothing else to focus on other than the quality of the art being created. In that way, it’s kind of an escape from the rest of the universe, one of the only moments where I’m actually disconnected from everything else around me.”

For people like Reyes, creating music is an art which creates a safe space for people to let their emotions out in a healthy way. Regardless of whether or not a song stems from negative emotions or not, it still has the same capacity to be special and important to listeners as a song that stems from more positive emotions.

Music provides a feeling of safety for so many people around the world, even if they hold remarkably different identities. All around the world, music allows people a sense of community, to help them to understand that whatever they’re going through, chances are, others are going through it as well. It imposes a feeling of comfort on the individual, connecting them to the world. Though music may not seem that important on a surface level, one song might make a difference in how someone feels for the rest of their day, week, or maybe even their life. 

“Music’s really mostly a pleasure thing, in the way that you continue chasing the high that you feel in the moment when you know you created a work of art you can personally enjoy,” said Reyes.

Music has also been seen as a symbol during times of struggle, allowing for people to cope during times of hardship. Whether music helps with emotional or physical struggles, it is a force that can help people find comfort in knowing that others have been there as well and have grown from their experiences.

According to the Library of Congress, “Activist and folk singer Pete Seeger also remembers how important music was to the Civil Rights Movement in his interview. He performed many concerts to raise money for civil rights organizations, and helped spread the song ‘We Shall Overcome’ to civil rights workers  at the Highlander Folk School.” 

Music, as everyone knows, can be an extremely emotional experience. Ranging from the happiest songs to the saddest, there is always some song that one can relate to their current emotional states or experiences. And it is extremely easy to be discouraged and to want to give up when put in difficult situations. Music can be seen as a form of guidance that allows people to use and spread their voice all around the world. 

Culturally, music brings people together, allowing them to bask in the songs of their culture, songs of their home-life, and songs of their people. The relationship between music and culture is extremely important, allowing for people to connect with an integral part of themselves, while also finding joy in listening to audible entertainment.

Different ethnic groups rely on music to branch out their culture to those who may not be as familiar with it and even use music for different cultural traditions. “For example, an obvious one is how the language of popular song lyrics always reflects the majority language of the group,” said Autumn Huerter, a reporter who is skilled regarding the topic of music and how it intertwines with culture.

There are many different aspects of culture rather than just the ones on surface level, one of those components being language. Culture is a part of everyone’s identity which, as a result, means hearing someone that speaks the same language as you can automatically make you feel more connected with that person. Despite language being something that may not seem as important as the rest of the components that make up a culture, language is a big part of people’s identities and how they communicate with one another. 

Hearing someone speak the same language as you in a place where you are surrounded by other people’s cultures and practices can comfort you and allow you to feel a sense of belonging in areas which you might not have originally felt a sense of place. 

Additionally, music can have an impact on many social issues regarding gender equality. For example, take the song ‘I Am Woman’ by Helen Reddy.’ In this song, Reddy brilliantly and powerfully addresses issues of feminism and women’s rights. She specifically references how women are no longer submissive, nor inferior in societal status.

Some of the lyrics include, “You can bend but never break me, ’cause it only serves to make me more determined to achieve my final goal.” This specifically pushes the idea that many people will try to break and mold women into societal standards for the “perfect woman,” yet it will only make women more determined to pursue their true self. For Reddy, that means being a strong, independent woman. 

Music allowed Helen Reddy to express herself and her views regarding gender inequality. It allowed her to empower many other people who listened to her music and were stuck in the same, or similar, situation as her, feeling just as powerless. 

Music even has an extremely important role in politics. Politics are a sensitive subject that many people in large positions of power such as celebrities or large artists feel afraid to speak about, in fear of negative public reaction that can harm their popularity or the way they make money. Music allows artists to express their political view and further educate people on what is happening in the world politically.

As seen in the song, ‘The Principal,’ by Melanie Martinez, Martinez addresses her issues regarding the government and politics. She refers to the people with political power as the “Principal” and criticizes them for their inability to uphold a fair and just society for those they empower. 

On the other hand, music can also have negative effects on those that listen to certain topics. “When people talk about how rap music revolving around explicit topics can negatively influence the youth, that’s the kind of influence they mean. In that way, music heavily affects society, even if it is subconsciously. The emotions conveyed by that music we consume affects the way we think,” said Reyes. 

Similar to the positive effects of music, there are also negative effects, especially on young, impressionable children.

Listening to music can potentially worsen your mental health, as previously stated, although you can listen to an artist’s singing about the same emotions and situation you are currently in, and see that as a beacon of hope. Yet it can also drive you further into those feelings.

It’s important to be careful when listening to songs whilst feeling intense emotions, and even more important to recognize that staying with those negative emotions, despite how comfortable, is not healthy.

Music with aggressive or harmful lyrical content can influence listeners’ behavior and perception, particularly among adolescents and young adults. Research indicates a correlation between exposure to music with violent or misogynistic themes and an increase in aggressive thoughts and behaviors,” notes the website of Lifeline Rehab, a state-of-the-art facility for the treatment of alcoholism, drug addiction, and psychiatric disorders situated in Bani Gala, Islamabad. 

That being said, music, although it has its pros and cons, is an extremely important element of society and influences how society is shaped today. Ask anyone, and they can go on a rant about how their favorite artists make them feel — that is the reality of music. Music can make or break society, and its significance will remain for years to come. 

“There is nothing else to focus on other than the quality of the art being created. In that way, it’s kind of an escape from the rest of the universe, one of the only moments where I’m actually disconnected from everything else around me,” said Aaron Reyes ’26.

About the Contributor
Angeline Rivera, Staff Reporter
Angeline Rivera is a Staff Reporter for ‘The Science Survey.’ As a journalist, she loves to captivate the readers and share her knowledge and passion with other people through her writing. To her, journalism is educating others on her interests in a thoughtful and carefully put-together way, making sure to hold the attention of those reading. She believes that journalistic writing allows for the truth without bias to be stated and read, leaving an everlasting impact on people’s lives. Journalistic photography is a way for her to show others the little details of what is currently happening, even when most people don’t realize it. Much of her free time outside of school is spent making art, baking, and reading, all hobbies to which she is completely devoted. Although her future career trajectory is not completely decided, Angeline has a passion for medicine and hopes to one day become a travel nurse. Regardless of her future career, journalistic writing will have a lasting impact upon her life and continue to be one of her life-long passions.