Written by Our Guest Writer Nancy Sanchez-Diaz
Music has been scientifically proven to generate positive effects on the body and mind, helping with everything from stress, memory, and mood to cardiovascular function and athletic performance.
However, the most fascinating aspect to date has been its ability to transcend cultural barriers.
No matter where someone is in the world, they can turn to music to help ease any tensions or stress and they can develop a cross-cultural perspective while doing it, too.
For Amaya Morales, a Puerto Rican-American junior student at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Latinx music has allowed her to connect with her Puerto Rican culture on a deeper level.
“I listen to different genres in Spanish, my favorite being reggaeton,” Morales said via text message. “I not only enjoy the catchiness of the lyrics but I also enjoy the beats and the historical context of reggaeton. It infuses reggae, dancehall, and American hip-hop, and Caribbean music to generate an upbeat and fun style of music. It started in Puerto Rico where my family is from so it makes me proud.”
Beyond the diverse array of Latinx music that she can enjoy, Latinx music has also helped Morales improve her Spanish.
“I love that there’s a different style for every mood, but Latinx music can also be a learning tool for Spanish,” continued Morales. “Thanks to Spanish music, today I am more fluent in Spanish.”
For Charles Elmo, a senior at Fairleigh Dickinson University, it’s the connections that he’s made through music that he cherishes the most.
“Music is universally loved because it can bring people together in so many ways,” Elmo said via text message. “Having a similar taste in music can ultimately lead to stronger relationships and stronger bonds, no matter how small the detail and no matter where you are from.
He also emphasized the general impact and importance of music.
“These artists touch on things in their music that many people struggle with, like heartbreak, depression, loneliness, and betrayal,” said Elmo. “They make you feel like you have somebody who understands you, even when it feels like no one does.”
As a first generation Mexican-American, someone who grew up between two very distinct worlds, music has also been there for me in a variety of ways.
When I was younger, I limited myself to only American music, particularly the punk rock scene.
I only listened to the likes of Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Hayley Williams, and A Day to Remember. It’s what was mainstream at the time and it’s what allowed me to feel more American with my friends at school.
But as I grew older, the desire to fit in with my family and my culture did, too.
Listening to reggaeton and Spanish pop music not only brought me closer to my culture, but it helped me forge stronger connections with my family members. Thanks to Latinx music, I have learned to embrace the upbeat and fun nature of the Latinx culture.
Besides Spanish (or Latinx) music, I also listen to French and Chinese music.
Chinese instrumentals help soothe and calm me down when I’m at my most tense, providing a much different sense of peace than the traditional Spanish or English rhythm would.
It’s no wonder they call music the “universal” language of mankind – there is music for everything, and everyone.
And it is for this very reason that I decided to be RecordDrop’s guest writer for this month’s “When Did You Fall in Love with Music” edition of their Webazine. RecordDrop’s mission is for every genre, no matter the cultural and linguistic background.
It is to be enjoyed in the way that it was intended to: as a globally recognized service.