For this project, I wanted to focus on the question: ‘How does music affect an individual’s mood and overall well being?’ Music is definitely something that affects students’ everyday lives, especially since we have easy access to music nowadays. I wanted to see what kind of effect that music has on college students and what it is about certain kinds of music that makes people feel better and less stressed.
Based on the data from the survey I administered, I can say that music does help improve people’s mood. The responses I received showed that most people listen to music to feel relaxed or to feel happier when they are sad. When reading the text responses, I saw that music is very personal to everyone and all of the responses were different in some way or another. When people stated the different types of music they listen to when they are sad, they showed that they are actively choosing one type of music over another, which shows that that one type of music is doing something for them that another type cannot. The amount of people who said they liked slow music and upbeat music were relatively close in number. It is clear that certain types of music give off a different effect on the emotions, but it is really all very personal to the individual who is listening it. Overall it seems that people like upbeat music to cheer them up and they like slow music when they want to feel those sad emotions for a little while.
My second research method is a song analysis. This method is answering my question: “what parts of music make people feel better?” By analyzing different popular songs, I can figure out what qualities certain songs have in common and if it correlates to how it helps improve people’s mood. In my survey, I was looking to figure out whether music actually does lift people’s moods, why they listen to certain types of music, and how it affects their emotions. This method focuses on what people responded to see what parts of certain music stands out to people. If a lot of songs have certain things in common then it could be something that is helping improve a lot of people’s emotional state. By using the information from my survey, I was able to decide which playlists to get my songs from. My analyses included shuffling 2 playlists on Spotify and listening to 10 random songs from each. I analyzed certain aspects of each song such as the amount of beats per minute, the duration of the song, the genre, the instrumental, the vocals, the lyrics’s repetition and overall meaning, and the overall feel of the song. For this research, I went on Spotify, clicked “browse”, clicked “genres and moods”, clicked “mood”, then based on the playlists’ high popularity and my survey responses I picked the “mood booster” and “ relax and unwind” playlists
The problems I encountered in my research was trying to find ways to organize all of my qualitative data. I was surprised that a lot of people don’t view lyrics as something that is most important in a song and that really the tempo and the tune are the most important musical elements to people. In addition, a lot of people gave vague answers or didn’t answer the whole question in the short response question, so something I would do differently is word my questions better so that the respondent would be more specific or I would probably ask different questions all together that would better answer my design question. For the last question i could have been more specific with my wording and there was no option to say if you didn't have one of the devices listed. Therefore, there is still a lot of information that I am unsure about with that question. Also, another thing I would do differently is try to analyze a wider variety of songs and perhaps look into different genres. Overall, I felt that my two research methods answered my design question for the most part.
Understanding different types of music can help us understand what it is about them that affects people emotionally. Trying to improve our understanding of how and why music helps people will help create a better future. Design can raise awareness of how music is a tool that we can use to help people’s mental health and well-being. With this in mind, people may be more open to things such as music therapy or perhaps it can promote the idea of having music be more accessible in certain places in order to combat stress. Overall, a design relating to this topic can inform and educate people on how to solve problems using music.