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Effect of Music

Updated on March 5, 2020
Mark O Richardson profile image

Mark loves listening to music and has hundreds of CDs. His favorite bands are Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, and Stereophonics.

The Beatles wrote the song “Helter Skelter’ in the late 1960’s. Charles Manson later used this song as his inspiration for killing several people. The deaths were linked back and blamed on that song. Its an example of why people have been against rock music or certain other types of music. But the first song on U2’s live album ‘Rattle and Hum’, Bono, the lead singer, starts out their cover of that same song by saying “Charles Manson stole this song from the Beatles and now we’re stealing it back.” In other words, not all musicians are bad. But many people blame problems on music.

So, what kind of music interests you? Do you like rock music? Does it affect you? It affects me, even if its in small ways. Rock is my favorite type of music. I want to tell you mainly how music can affect us as people and as a society, with much of my focus being on rock music. First, what’s good about it, what’s bad, and then how it affects our thoughts and actions.

The Good

First, the good things. It lets musicians express their feelings and ideas, whether they are good or bad. I believe that music is an art form. Especially rock. And here’s why. Bands create music. So, they’re called artists. Just like a painting by Van Gogh or Picasso, you can tell who the musical artist is because of their style. Rock originated in the USA. Its part of our culture. A big part of music are videos and concerts. It certainly is fun listening to music I like. Music helps me to focus while I work. Rock music helps me when I am feeling down.

Each type of music appeals to certain listeners. It is very personal. You can dance to music. It expresses emotions. You can tell how you feel, especially about controversial issues. Rock has changed a lot since its origins. Music can bring the world together. For example, there have been concerts held to raise money for charities, such as Live Aid for starving people. A lot of rock speaks socially. Music brings races and cultures together. People listen to American music all over the world. Elvis brought the blacks and whites together with his style during times of extreme racial tension. It will always be changing. In the past, rock has protested prejudice and the Vietnam War. It has even inspired public protest.

The Bad

Now about the bad things some music can bring. It can affect us in negative ways. Its different for everyone. People who aren’t mentally strong or stable sometimes are affected in dramatic ways. People may even be influenced to do things they normally wouldn’t. It’s unfortunate when music motivates people to harm themselves or others. As a humorous example, when listening to some heavy rap/rock music with a coworker while driving, I joked with him that we should rob a bank. Some music encourages illegal drug use, rebelliousness, violence, sex, suicide, and Satanism. Maybe these people don’t realize the effect that they can have. Everyone has their own beliefs. What may be okay to do for one person, may not be good for another. Also, some music degrades women. A main part of rock is rebelliousness. It isn’t good when people want to rebel, just for the sake of rebelling. Rock can be very aggressive and can have an antisocial stance. For example, the song “Anarchy in the UK” by the Sex Pistols. Anarchy is appalling to many people. But not all rock is the same. Most groups don’t want to appear to be Satan worshipers, but others like Danzig want to. One band should not reflect all others in any type of music. Or if the Beatles talk about a revolution, it doesn’t mean that we need to have one.

My Opinion, My Thoughts

Personally, music doesn’t affect me in a huge way, although I really like it. It doesn’t make me compromise or go against my values. But many people are affected in extreme ways by music. Its sad when people choose to blame things on music when they do something wrong. Music shouldn’t make us want to just go out and kill people. For example, if I listen to a song off the “Natural Born Killers’ soundtrack then go on a killing spree. The bad thing about explicit lyrics is that we may start using vulgar language, which degrades society. One main type of music that gives many other types of music a bad name today is rap music. It’s often people talking with a lot of bass. Rap has a lot of explicit lyrics. It’s often degrading to women, encourages sex, drug use, and violence (especially with guns). In the past, legislators were trying to impose laws against offensive and obscene lyrics. They weren’t trying to ban the music, just inform parents. Everyone should have free speech. Parents should be informed of the nature of Dr. Dre or Eminem. I don’t think that there are a lot of good messages that come out of rap music.

I’ve observed that country music tends to be the least tainted regarding music with vulgarity or negative messages. I don’t like a lot of country music, but that doesn’t mean that it should be banned. Also, people don’t seem to be phased by music as much as they used to. Perhaps less music groups go for shock value than they used to.

Back to rock. As mentioned, it encourages rebelliousness. But rebelliousness isn’t always bad. Especially when it helps us stand up for what we feel is right and not to conform to something that we do not believe in. It can sometimes inform us to help us know when to stand up and decide which side to take.

But does music have a conscience? Most of the people who write and/or perform the music are in it for the money. Many who make music may not have a conscience in terms of what music they release. People have a right to make the albums that they want and to say what they want to. But in the past, many parents have sued bands or companies for their music because the parents think that it influenced their kids to commit suicide or to do other harmful things. Maybe the lawsuits are a wake-up call in those situations.

Music can have good messages and I’ve found many examples of that. For example, a song by Rollins Band called ‘Shine.’ Even though the song is heavy and loud, it has a good message. It talks about believing in yourself. But there is not any song that would make me go kill myself. Life is too valuable for that. But I hope that music can help us. I wouldn’t mind if my kids listened to my music. In fact, I encourage them to listen to Pink Floyd. My parents didn’t like a lot of my music when I was younger, probably because they didn’t want to like it and their mind wasn’t open to new music. My experience with music has been that I sometimes have to gain a taste for a lot of music. A comical example of my father not liking music was when he would try to whistle to rock band music in the late 80’s and early 90’s, which is often hard to do.


In conclusion, I hope we can see the beauty in music. All music isn’t bad. I don’t feel that music is as bad as it is cracked up to be. Inspiring and uplifting music is good. I have felt that music by the group Secret Garden would be the music that you would find in Heaven. We shouldn’t focus on the negative aspects of music. What if we didn’t have music at all?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Mark Richardson


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