My first concert ever was a Rolling Stones show I was entirely too young to truly appreciate. An uncle paid for the tickets and I stood on the seat between him and my mom, watching something I may not have known how to enjoy entirely but that was still exciting. A feeling in my chest I had no way of knowing I’d become so addicted to.
The Magic of Live Music
Music makes me happy, but live music? It heals my soul. I was an angsty seventeen-year-old when I realized that concerts did something for me that went beyond having an amazing time. Let’s face it, that was part of the attraction. That’s still part of the attraction. But I’ve found that the older I get, the more I appreciate the escapism and therapeutic powers of attending a good live show.
It’s a little bit like travel. A getaway.
Some of the happiest moments of my life have been concerts. Not things that happened at concerts (although I have some of those, too), but the concerts themselves. Days spent at festivals, truly wonderful moments watching bands I love, the wide-eyed excitement of finding new bands and hours spent there, standing around with a beer in hand, listening to music with friends.
But their true magic has come from those dark times. Times when I was so low, I almost missed the gigs that got me out of my funk. Times when I really understood how much good I was getting out of each ticket purchased.
The Science Behind Us
Fortunately, it’s not all about my romantic soul and what music does for it. In fact, science backs me up on this one. According to a study, going to a concert every two weeks can make you live up to nine years longer. So, it might be time to start investing in concert tickets if you’re not already doing it.
Patrick Fagan, an expert in behavioral science and Associate Lecturer at Goldsmith’s University in London, found that regularly attending gigs boosts your self-worth, makes you connect with others and stimulates mental health.
“Researchers found that, after experiencing a concert, subjects’ self-worth and sense of closeness to others both increased by 25%, and mental stimulation jumped up by a whopping 75%”.
The study, which measured sensations using psychometric testing and heart-rate tests, states that as little as 20 minutes of live music increases feelings of well-being by 21%. In comparison, yoga only increases it by 10% and other activities like dog-walking by 7%.
True or False?
Sure, it’s a little bit shady that a concert venue paid for the study and, yes, going to big gigs on a bi-weekly basis could kill one’s economy. Still, it really doesn’t seem so wild to me. It kinda makes sense. I’ve experienced that boost and I know I’m not alone there.
Something missing when you’ve gone too long without a little bit of live music action. I have people who completely agree on how important concerts are for general emotional well-being and happiness. So, I choose to believe it. And trust that the time I spend dancing around at a gig, no matter how massive or how small, is actually good for me.
I’ve always known that music saved and continues to save me from myself, but maybe it’s doing more than that. Maybe it’s adding years to my life. Maybe not. I definitely want to hang on to the study and its percentages for a little longer, at least. It lets me be smug about the 11% it gives gigs over yoga.
So find a gig! Go to a festival with friends. Dance around to live music and see if it lifts your spirits. I’ve got a feeling it will.