What’s so great about live music?

Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, YouTube… the list goes on. It’s clear that we’re living in the digital era, which allows for easy access to the bands and music you like. If you’re at least 30, then you remember waiting patiently to hear your new favorite song played on the radio, or having to go to the store to buy a record or CD. Now your favorite songs are only a few taps on your cell phone. This ready availability, along with today’s excellent digital recording techniques, makes it almost like the band is in the room with you. 

However, nothing truly compares to going to see music live. Studies have shown that concerts can have a positive affect on both mental and physical health. One of the most difficult parts of COVID for many was the inability to go out and see live music. Music appeals to the emotional side of people, and seeing it live with others is such an intimate experience. 

Quick, name the person or people you were with and the first band you ever saw in concert. You might not be able to name your teachers in elementary school, but the answer to this question almost always rolls off the tongue. 

Is it any different than listening to a recording at home? 

Why does listening to live music, surrounded by other people leave such an impact? There’s a collective joy that occurs when people are gathered together with one purpose. This isn’t just true of concerts; going out to attend a sporting event, movie, or play – even spending the evening in a crowded bar – all produce a sense of connection and shared purpose. That feeling can’t be replicated by streaming a similar live performance into your own living room. 

Dancing or listening to live music also benefits mental health as it triggers the release of oxytocin and dopamine, the “feel good chemicals.” Because of this fact, music can be used to treat depression and improve mood. It also positively impacts physical health. 

Live concerts have been shown to reduce the body’s production of cortisol, the stress hormone. Researchers have also discovered that study participants experienced reduced blood pressure and heart rate while experiencing live music. Finally, concerts can actually relieve physical pain by triggering the release of endorphins, which reduce a person’s perception of pain.

Is it worth the time and money?

Whether concerts are worth the cost depends on whether you value the idea of boosting brain health. Listening to music for the first time or live challenges the brain because it’s a new experience, and the brain must work to understand and assimilate the sounds. Music benefits creativity, clarity and memory, which is why it’s used to help improve cognitive function in patients with dementia. 

All of the evidence points to the idea that going to a concert is one of the best things you can do for yourself. And while it’s true that the really famous bands and musicians can charge a pretty penny for tickets, there are some fantastic tribute bands that will give you much of the same joy and happiness to see. Do some googling and read reviews and you’ll find that there are some amazingly talented musicians out there making a living as tribute artists.

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