Your homework: go to more concerts
One student’s discovery on coping with stress and tackling coursework
For the past two years, I have been partaking in an experiment. I am the test subject and I am the evaluator. I believe that one simple factor can make you a better student. I want you to truly smile, embrace life and make the most of it. My name is Chad Baird and I want you to go to more concerts.
My hypothesis was that consistent concert attendance could improve GPA and mental health in post-secondary students. My findings lead me to believe that live music may possess this power.
Dr. Daniel J. Levitin, California-rocker-turned-neuroscientist, explains how concerts literally affect the brain in his book, This is Your Brain on Music. At a decibel level of 115dB, the average decibel level of a concert, music causes “auditory saturation, causing neurons to fire at their maximum rate.”
Here are the statistics: I have attended roughly 20 concerts during my time in university, I have a 3.79 GPA and I had severe depression for four years. Because of the latter stat, I needed to find a radical and effective outlet for stress. I found that solace in concerts.
The atmosphere of a concert is like no other. While the stage lights spill across the smiling faces and the strobes flash, people dance and the bass ripples through your soul. A crowd of individuals becomes a single organism, moving in unison like a grand ocean wave.
In contrast, we all know the student life is not so glamorous. There are bills, deadlines, essays and exams. There is immense stress bestowed upon every student and the only way to get through post-secondary successfully is to find a way to weather the storms and effectively handle pressure.
There are no documented activities in history that have ever demanded the full neural capabilities of the brain — except for music at the 115dB level. When you go to a concert, your brain is forced to let go of the problems of the day because it doesn’t have the neural capability to absorb the sound and think about how you are going to pay off that student loan. You have no choice in the matter, your brain rids itself of previous problems for a window of time.
Concerts offer an effective escape for a night. Live music offers a chance to unplug and unwind. Think about it: at concerts, you naturally loosen up and forget deadlines and real life for a moment. Furthermore, writing down a concert date in your agenda gives you a goal and gives you a near-future focal point. At a base neurological level, it gives you a little more incentive to complete assignments and carry on with your day because you have something positive to look forward to. Hark! There is a light at the end of the 3000-word-essay tunnel!
There have been times that I have nearly been crushed by the school workload. There have been times where depression has got the best of me and affected my grades. Friends, I can tell you in full confidence that concerts have made me a better student. I am more relaxed, I am happier and I am mentally healthier. These three factors equal better academic success, period. Find your happy place. It may very well be at the side of the stage.