by Katie Heffring

Why do we all need music? From the beginnings of humankind, music has been a part of our culture. But why? And did one come first? The sound of music or the human?

Interestingly enough, the universe is full of sound waves (and even more now since our projection of vast travelling radio waves). So let’s say if we cut out all our loud noise (our human-made frequencies), what can we hear? Apparently lots!

Every planet emits sound waves, and some have created a cosmic scale. Not only that, but notes along a musical scale relate to a colour, creating literally a rainbow of sound. And all behind these findings is a lot (a mind boggling lot) of mathematics. Ok, so the sounds of music came first, and the sounds we heard resonated with us enough that we sought out ways to repeat them. And with the different sounds we created, so began a beat or even a melody.

Now to go back to the question of why we need music? This question has generated fields of study, including the cognitive neuroscience of music, cognitive musicology, psychoacoustics, evolutionary musicology, ethnomusicology, sociomusicology, and so on. But without needing PhDs, I think we can conclude that just through music, humans can quickly develop a number of basic skills, which perhaps historically aided to their survival. For example, music improves your ability to concentrate, coordinate, count, listen, cooperate, problem solve, learn phonics, recall information, and so on. I remember my high school principal coming into band class one day and applauding us for our hard work, saying that by being a musician, we have improved our grades by 80%.

Music also builds self-esteem, reduces stress, helps generate physical activity (like dancing in the kitchen), makes us feel happy (or sad), energizes us, and brings people together. What else does all that? Incredible!

I have to thank my record collection for finally prompting me to answer the philosophical questions about music that I was always mulling over, but hadn’t sought out.

So here’s to the wonders of music, musicians, instruments, planets, the universe, happy people, and my favourite album of all time:

While not writing articles for Ballz, Katie is either freelance editing ( or imagining the future.

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