TED Conversations

Spencer Anderson

This conversation is closed.

Is it damaging to one's personality if one were to listen to excessive amounts of music?

Basically, I listen to a lot of music. There are songs that I connect with and it's a feeling I just cannot describe.
If I were to try and describe it, I would have to say that certain songs just "get in my bones" for a lack of a better term. It feels as if the song were grabbing me and metaphorically moving me on a "magic carpet" of sorts. Most of the time, I have to tap my foot or "bob" my head to the song.

Could listening to music excessively be harmful to someone's social life and or just their life in general?
Is it necessarily a bad thing to have such strong emotions tied to listening to music?
What are your thoughts on emotional well being and/or mental health and how it ties to music?
What are your general thoughts on the subject at hand?


For this discussion, skip the topic of hearing damage and just focusing on social aspects of music.
I would also like to add that in no way am I a drug user; no drugs of any sort play a role in this experience whatsoever.

Share:
  • thumb
    Oct 27 2011: Why would anyone think you were a drug user because you listen to a lot of music?!

    I use public transport to go to work particularly 'metro trains' which we call the 'tube' in London. Unless the train is packed I tend to switch off my MP3 player. I switch off my player as I realise that when I am wearing it, im not really engaging with those around me. Yes i love my music intently I am also an occasional DJ, so I love having all of my music on the go.
    However I realise the world extends beyond the boundaries of my player, I actually want to engage with other human beings being buried in my smartphone does not allow me to do this.

    As someone who is a 'born and bred' Londoner I know most of the city like the back of my hand, therefore if someone were to ask me for directions I can tell them. Also whenever an elderly person were to ask me a question at least I can have a 2 way conversation without being lost in music. I realise that many people like to get into their own zone and cut others off, especially in big cities like London, NYC, Paris etc to me this is not a good precedent. Finally as a father pushing a pram (and a runner) nothing is more irritating than someone listening to music and looking at their smart phone without looking where they are walking.
    • thumb
      Oct 27 2011: What I meant by the drug use: from my description of how "in-tune" I am with music, I didn't want anyone to think that I happened to be a drug user because the people I know who smoke marijuana or take ecstasy, they go crazy when a song comes on.

      However, that's true when I think about the social aspect. I am missing out on conversing with other individuals and it is true that people in big cities like to keep to themselves. I don't striking up conversations with strangers, but I just really love to listen to music. Keeps me upbeat and keeps me going (energy-wise).
  • Nov 7 2011: Music does touch your emotion side. Most people don't like to admit it, but that's the way it has always been. In history it's talked about in many cultures. It's used to celebrate, mourn, and to relax your soul. In the Bible when King Saul was being tormented it was David playing his lyre that calmed him.
    I personally have music going on in my head 24-7 since I was 4 years old. It has helped me through many difficult situations in my life. You can grab a song out of thin air, and allow it to embrace you and speak to you.
    Food for thought.
  • thumb
    Oct 27 2011: I personally would find it very difficult to live without music, and I listen to it to alter or enhance my mood. it can help me to stay awake - and help to go to sleep, depending on genre etc.

    The strange thing is, as a depression sufferer, I find myself wanting to listen to dark, depressing music when times are bad. Perversely, it seems to lift the mood! I haven't quite got my head around why that should be, but I guess it is something to do with having something or someone there in the room matching my own mood.

    In answer to your question, I don't think listening to music can be in any way damaging to personality, if it keeps you upbeat, fills you with energy and you feel able to share your thoughts about it on forums like this. I guess if was a totally introspective 'locked-in' obsession, it could actually cause damage.

    Some people have inhibited emotional responses to music and perhaps use drugs to try and remove those inhibitions. I consider myself lucky because I do not need drugs to achieve this, and am naturally receptive to the atmosphere and emotional language that only music can convey.