Can Music Change Behavior?

Have you ever wondered if music can influence behaviors, thoughts and feelings? If so, you may not be surprised to hear that the short answer is yes. However, the studies that have been carried out are inconclusive as to why this is so: for instance, it could be that people of a certain disposition are drawn to a specific genre of music. Read on to find out more about how music can change behavior.

Mood and State of Mind

Unsurprisingly, a 2017 study has concluded that people who danced and attended music events were happier than those who did not. They consistently ranked higher on evaluations of life satisfaction. In addition, people who engaged with music in a group also had higher scores than those who engaged with music alone. What this suggests is that music is a form of social bonding and as social animals, we all need that to some degree.


Have you ever felt melancholic or nostalgic after listening to sad music? If so, you already know that music has the power to influence moods and feelings. A study conducted in 2011 found that participants who listened to happy music in the background were able to identify more happy faces in a task and vice versa for those who had sad music in the background. However, what is the implication of music being able to affect our moods?

Although people who suffer from clinical depression were found to feel worse after listening to sad music, people without these tendencies actually reported feeling better. Sad music may have the ability to help us work through our emotions and develop a new perspective of things.

Music Defining Who We Are Not

Another interesting discovery about music and its ability to change behavior is that music can define who we are not as much as we who are. In order to discourage youths from loitering, classical music was played in the Old Courthouse Square of Santa Rosa, California in 1996. This had the desired effect: many teenagers left the area as they did not identify with the music. This encouraged the city to continue playing classical music in the square.

What does this say about the impact music has on our identities? If a teenager sees classical music as an “elite” domain or something for “old people”, they may actively dissociate yourself from it. Just as music has the power to create social bonds, so too do people define what they are not through music.

Enhance Student Learning with Mind Muzic

There’s no getting around it: music has tremendous power to influence behavior, thoughts and feelings. As an educator or parent, you may be looking for resources to help your student or child learn. If so, music is one of the best tools you can use. At Mind Muzic, all our monthly subscriptions come with new videos, personalized playlists and quizzes to enhance your child’s or student’s learning. With a free 14-day trial, sign up now and experience the difference!

If you have any queries about our educational videos or subscriptions, please feel free to contact us.

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