Music provides escape, soothes some stress

By Jared Bysiek, Staff Writer

When asked about a time where music felt the most comforting to him, eighteen year old Ryan Winters remembers that day clearly as ever. It was a particularly rough day for the teenager, and that night he decided to sit outside, looking up at the starry sky to try and relax. While he was sitting out there that night admiring the calm, silent sky he put on one of his favorite albums, “Peripheral Vision” by the band Turnover. As he took in the melodic, spacey sounds he began to feel his troubles melt away. “It reminded me, in that one moment, that I could get through whatever challenge I go through. As long as I have myself and my music, I can remain myself,” he said.

Music is hard to avoid and ignore in the world, it is all around. Whether it is through the radio, a record player, a streaming service, the neighbor’s house, or even a catchy jingle on the TV — music is a part of everyone’s life. Though the importance of music can vary with every person. For some people, like Winters, music plays a very significant role in their life. It is a thing that keeps them going, and encourages them to not give up.

“I listen to music almost every day as it gets me ready for whatever life throws at me. Music plays what I would consider the biggest part of my life, it’s always been there for me,” he said. “Good times and bad, I’ve always turned towards music.”

However, music does not always have to be deep and personal on an everyday basis for people. They may enjoy listening to it, but would not initially consider it something that is extremely profound. For seventeen year old Ciara Duncan, she finds herself listening to music the most as a way to ease back whenever she is simply working on her assignments, and occasionally at night as well. “I listen to a lot of music while I’m doing all my schoolwork. It makes my tasks less intimidating,” she said. “Listening to music at night is always a more intense experience. It depends on how I’m feeling, though.”

Because of the pandemic, however, life has become quite different for everyone. Many people who are being as safe as possible now find themselves stuck at home far more than they ever have before. With all this time at home, people initially hoped it would be a time for pursuing new hobbies, working on personal activities, and to possibly even unwind. Aside from learning new hobbies like crochet and painting, Ciara Duncan has also taken the time to look for new music.

“I’ve discovered lots of new music. I used to not really like listening to new stuff, but now I’m much more open to it. It’s something to do,” she said. “I’ve heard that people who don’t like listening to new music have too much going on in their life, and that their brain can’t process something new. But right now I have so much downtime that my brain is like ‘please god, give us something different’.”

Aside from expanding his video game collection, Ryan Winters has taken this newfound free time to begin collecting a special music format: vinyl. “Vinyl has become a bigger part of my life during quarantine as I ended up spending around $100 on a decent record player, and thus started my forging my collection of music I love and music I want to discover. I have now dug myself a hole, but I keep buying records out of pure love for the genres provided and want to support the bands. I have since slowed down as money runs tight because of school, but I still pick up records that mean something to me.”

But as summer passed and time carried on, the thrill of life stuck at home began to wear thin. Many people, old and young alike, have started growing tired of being stuck at home. And those who have started working again have had to work in an extremely cautious environment, and even the occasional non-compliant customer. As if that was not enough, the end of summer has had students finding themselves tied down with the new, confusing, and tiresome struggle of online classes all over again.

The stress of such a confusing environment has proved to be overwhelming for many students and adults alike. It is important to find a healthy way to deal with such an overwhelming situation, and music is just one of the many outlets people have begun to rely on to try and find some peace of mind amidst the chaos. Even though music may be at different levels of importance for the two, both have found that listening to music has become an incredible source of comfort and ease during these tough times.

“There’s definitely been some songs that have really helped me through quarantine. I made a playlist to try and collect them as I found them, but I only have a few so far,” Duncan said. “Each one of them just reminds me that although life really sucks right now, one day my life will be beautiful, and just what I want it to be.”

“I listen to music so much more now that I’m at home for all my classes, it helps me stay sane. Now that I do school from home entirely, music has helped me remember who I am in times of trouble,” Winters said. “Whether it be simply waiting between classes, when I sit at my desk, or even doing homework music has been there to fill that silence. I normally listen to my comfort music, maybe throw a few records on the turntable, it all depends on what kind of mood I’m in.”

These are just two of the many, many people in the world that have been comforted during these frustrating and confusing times through music. And even though the two of them may feel different about the subject on the surface, they both have been able to find solace and clarity within music. Sometimes when everything feels overwhelming, or you even feel bored out of your mind, pop on your favorite album or playlist,  sit back, and let the music take you away.