Good vibrations

From pump-up jams to community unity

Kyle Berg

Winter is coming. Leaves falling, temperatures dropping and, with the elements, our moods are dropping as well. In order to prevent the doldrums from settling in, many turn to music.

Dr. Frank Lipman, founder and director of Elven-Elven Wellness Center in New York City and a pioneer in integrative and functional medicine, suggests using music as a break from stressful situations.

Soothing tunes can help relax those sculpted calf muscles from the hard day’s trek up and down the stairs of the Dick Building. The body and brain need a timeout from the hustle and bustle of academic life, be it the rigor of a biochemistry lecture or a mind-bending microeconomics exam. So in the words of Aziz Ansari of “Parks and Recreation,” “treat yo’ self” with music.

Turning to upbeat music can release a slew of feel-good hormones such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, all of which create what Funky Bunch frontman Marky Mark would call “good vibrations” within thy soul.

Music, along with releasing us from the depths of despair, has the opportunity to motivate us to challenge whatever stands before us. The most common music motivation is found in the world of sports. It’s no coincidence that music fills the stadiums and locker rooms of professional athletes. Music pumps you up. Walk-out songs such as Fort Minor’s “Remember the Name,” Europe’s “Final Countdown,” and House of Pain’s “Jump Around” are just the a few of the top 100 pump-up songs according to Bleacher Report. The same website also lists 33 pump-up Christian songs that professional athletes listen to and the top Christian song—which also made the top 100 pump-up songs (number 7)—is “Frontline” by Pillar.

Exercise science major Spencer Curtis loves metal music specifically because it “pumps me up, it’s aggressive . . . it makes me want to conquer obstacles.” Bleacher Report supports his claim, as several metal/hard rock songs were posted on the top pump-up song list, such as “Enter Sandman” by Metallica and “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC.

Apart from music relieving stress and pumping us up, it can also create a sense of community. Communication senior Ben Holms, another one of Union College’s proud metal heads, revealed what he loves about metal music: “I find that it’s a place where I don’t feel judged for my beliefs or as a person. I can express myself freely and know that my opinion matters. It’s my therapy in a way. When I’m down, I feel inspired to keep going. When I’m angry, it channels it into something constructive. And when I’m happy, it helps me celebrate even more. It’s honest and open.”

When you find yourself in times of trouble, lean on music to set you free. It can bring you elation in times of stress and motivation to pump you up when you need it most.

Kyle is a senior studying language arts education.