The Psychological Effects of Listening to Music during the Quarantine

30 August, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has raised questions about the psychological effects of music during quarantine. In today's article, we'll explore these questions in depth.

Catastrophes inevitably cause some degree of psychological and social damage. For the past few months, having to stay at home, far from families and friends, and losing contact with the community has been the perfect storm that leads to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Some countries are taking steps to counteract these negative consequences of quarantine. In Spain, for example, everyone sings Resistiré by the group Dúo Dinámico every day at 8:00 pm to foster a sense of belonging and solidarity. This is one example of the psychological effects of music during the quarantine.

The goal of the countrywide singalong in Spain is to remind people that we’ll all get through this together. Music is a powerful art form, there’s no doubt about that. However, it also has a significant influence on people’s identities. As Bob Marley said, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain”. Since prehistoric times, humans have used music in magic rituals and ceremonies to express and scare away their fears.

Music has psychological effects during the quarantine

Current neuro-musicology research tells us that going to a concert or some kind of musical event can trigger a significant reduction in cortisol, the stress hormone. Another example is music therapy, which is a wonderful example of how art can help you turn your problems into something more abstract and less painful.

That being said, it’s easy to see how, as people are experiencing unprecedented uncertainty in their lives, that this would also be a time for expression and escape. Music is one of the things that can provide some psychological benefits during the quarantine.

Also, it’s important to note that music makes you want to move and dancing releases endorphins, the happiness hormone. Listening to music and dancing is a way to disconnect from reality for a while, focus on the rhythm of the beat, and let go.

A great example of this idea in practice is this group of Dominican nuns in Spain who came up with a simple and fun choreographed dance to the Dúo Dinámico song. You can watch the nuns and their happy neighbors in this YouTube video. Here, it’s especially easy to see the positive psychological effects of music during the quarantine.

Some people have also felt inspired during the lockdown to try singing, with surprisingly good results. It’s a good opportunity to try it out since exploring the musical side of yourself allows you to connect with your meditative self as well. Singing is one way to foster self-awareness.

Other people form impromptu choirs with their neighbors to sing Happy Birthday or celebrate another special occasion.

These are all great ways to use music during the quarantine. After all, music helps you be more critical and creative, not only with your feelings but also with the information you’re taking in.

In summary, the psychological effects of music during quarantine are the following:

  • Triggers the release of healthy hormones and inhibits unhealthy ones.
  • Creates stronger bonds and a sense of shared identity with other people.
  • Keeps loneliness at bay.
  • Helps you express your pain.
  • Is a form of physical exercise.
  • Allows you to disconnect from your problems.
  • Makes time go by faster.
  • Stimulates your ability to reflect.

Musical tips for getting through hard times

We want to take advantage of this opportunity to share some musical initiatives that have been the product of this worldwide quarantine. They’ve helped many people connect with their artistic side and cope with the side effects of social isolation.

  • Karaoke. Platforms such as Karafun or Karaoke Smart can help you express your emotions and feel like a rock star.
  • Just Dance. This is a Wii game that teaches you choreographies from popular artists.
  • Smule. This smartphone app lets you connect and sing with strangers from all over the world. The best part is that the app puts you in touch with people who love the same music you do!
  • Online teaching tools. Sites such as Guitarra Viva, El Profe de Piano, or 100 Lecciones de Bateria help people learn to play instruments, even at a very beginner level.
  • Learn to play an instrument with your idol. Musicians such as Brian May of Queen are live-streaming music classes from their homes! Look on Instagram to see what your favorite musicians are up to.

Applause with rhythm

Another popular thing to do during the quarantine has been to applaud healthcare workers at certain times of the day. Does this have any psychological effects? The obvious answer is yes (otherwise, why would anyone do it?) Applause is positive reinforcement that makes you feel recognized, if even for a moment. It’s a way to boost your self-esteem.

Consequently, going out to your balcony or front door and applauding is a way of creating community and fostering a sense of melodic optimism.

As you can see, the psychological effects of music during quarantine are many and positive. What do you say? Are you feeling inspired to sing and dance? There’s no time like the present!

Rolando Ángel Alvarado. (2013). La música y su rol en la formación del ser humano. 2020, de Facultad Ciencias Sociales