“Music can heal the wounds which medicine cannot touch”
According to psychologists, doctors, neurologists, sociologists, and other specialists, music has a gift – to act favorably on our thoughts, behaviors, and more generally on our mental health.
There are a lot of studies on music in general, but what about electronic music and the benefits it brings to us?
What is EDM?
Electronic music, most generally known as EDM or Dance music, is a type of music composed with the main purpose of being listened to in clubs, raves or festivals.
This genre appears in the 1980s/1990s by combining elements from Hip Hop and disco. This is how the first sub-genre of electronic music like house, Chicago house, techno, electro and etc. were born.
Since its popularization in the early 2000s, especially because of the development of festivals like UMF or Tomorrowland, EDM continues to gain more and more attraction. But, what are the benefits of EDM? Does it act on our brain like other styles of music, or is it more beneficial?
What Does Electronic Music Do to Your Brain?
Have you ever wondered by singing a melody, for example, why you feel so good? The answer is simple: Music has the effect of releasing dopamine into the brain (Joy Hormones).
Why does music have such an important impact on our body and mind?
Well, there are more nerve cells for hearing than for all the other senses combined.
However, the feeling of joy is very common in many styles of music. So how does EDM act precisely on our brain?
Signy Sheldon and Julia Donahue from McGill University in Canada have proven that upbeat and catchy music like EDM is the one that helps people remember happy memories in the fastest way.
According to Dr Pierre Lemarquis, a neurologist from Toulon(FR) and author of the book Serenade for a musician’s brain, “Repetitive electronic music causes trance, with effects on motor skills. Even if we don’t move, our brain sings and dances.”
However, EDM is not always fast. For example, sub-genres like deep house, chill, and ambient are slow genres. Should you avoid those sub-genres to have a positive aspect on the brain? Not at all! Each sub-genre of EDM has its own benefits.
One question remains: Does EDM only have benefits?
Is EDM Music Bad for You?
First of all, before trying to find out whether electronic music has negative effects, we need to understand it.
For Dr. Lemarquis, the perception of music is a matter of culture. “The difference is between emotion and judgment. If someone is in judgment, considering that the music is not part of his culture, is not in emotion, he will have a headache. On the other hand, if the person identifies himself with music, emotions will take advantage of judgment and provide pleasure.”
As it was said earlier, EDM is a vast genre that continues to expand and is declined into other subgenres.
A Turkish study dating from February 2021 shows us that techno would be the least favorable genre to reduce anxiety. Indeed, according to this study based on 1540 volunteers aged from 18 to 65, 78% of them experienced an increase in blood pressure, listening to techno. Techno is vast; melodic techno is much quieter than the industrial techno. However, this study does not specify which titles were listened to.
Another effect that can be negative from EDM is that it affects emotions. Therefore, it can make us happy as it was mentioned before, but some music can bring us back to a sad memory or cause a fear simply by having a base, a series of chords, or words causing these feelings.
However, music has more positive than negative aspects. No more negativity. Music can be a major weapon to help us to feel better, so what are the benefits of EDM?
“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.”
6 Mental Benefits of Listening to EDM
1. EDM can influence effort and distract from the perception of fatigue
According to studies, EDM has a role in psychological perception of stress, the perception of the difficulty of exertion but also on the heart rate or the consumption of exertion. In other words, listening to EDM is associated with more enjoyable perceptions of effort, better athletic performance, less perception of the difficulty of effort, and more efficient use of oxygen.
Still according to these studies, the effect of music on performance, the effect of EDM on physical performance was more favorable for fast tempo music (> 120 Beats per minute (BPM)) compared to slow tempo music (< 120 BPM).
Following this reasoning, subgenres of EDM like Hardstyle, drum n bass, or trance would be the ideal training partners.
2. Listening to EDM releases dopamine into the brain
After much exploration of the brain, it turned out that the brain areas of musical emotions are not distinct from the areas of other emotions. When we listen to a melody that we like, the neural circuits that goes “on” are those that play in the mechanisms of motivations and rewards.
Some EDM sub-genres are based on this rewards system. Euphoric hardstyle is probably the most representative example. Soaring and fast melodies bring a feeling of well-being and joy.
Some other subgenres such as Trance, progressive house, and many other hovering subgenres have an expressive structure, powerful enough to impose emotional states. They can also reduce anxiety, stress levels and improve mood.
This would be one of the most important benefits of EDM, to change the emotions of the people listening to it. Note that these subgenres are often fairly fast genres, usually above 128 bpm for progressive house and trance for example. Euphoric hardstyle is more around 150 BPM.
Is slow music therefore mentally useless or dedicated to sad emotions? Not really.
3. EDM improves sleep and rest.
As we saw earlier, fast music (> 120 BPM) is more about releasing dopamine, providing motivation, and more generally positive feelings. What about slow music?
There are many EDM subgenres with a slow tempo (< 120 BPM) such as Tropical house, deep house, chill, or ambient. These subgenres can have beneficial effects on the brain. Indeed, according to clinical studies, slow music could facilitate sleep, decrease the number of awakenings, improve the quality of sleep and increase its duration and effectiveness. EDM lends itself perfectly to relaxation, in fact, much of the music contains no or few lyrics. Therefore, it is more difficult to focus on the voices and thus liberate the mind.
4. EDM helps with creativity
One of the benefits of EDM is that the subjects that this genre deals with through music are enormously varied. There are no limits to the theme addressed because of the many sub-genres it possesses.
EDM can bring out a forgotten emotion but also a memory of the past. It can be a boost for creativity. It may also be the words that inspire inspiration.
EDM is also an innovation space in terms of sound but also technology with even more sophisticated composition plugins. A lot of genres today are inspired by what is done in EDM. So EDM is probably the most influential genre when it comes to creativity.
5. Strengthens the feeling of belonging
If you have been in the community long enough and have already participated in raves or festivals, you’re probably already familiar with these benefits of EDM. It doesn’t matter what your social class is. It doesn’t matter what your skin color, religion, or gender is, you will still be accepted into the EDM community.
The EDM community puts a lot of emphasis on mental health and caring. In this community, you don’t feel alone. You share the same tastes and values as the people around you. Some subgenres, such as future bass, deliver strong messages, share past experiences to help people through difficult times.
You can express yourself freely without fear of being judged and be supported by the community if you need it. This community has also given its values to a very present movement. The PLUR movement (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect)
6. You can travel with EDM.
Some people will tell you that to travel through music specifically, with EDM, you’ll need other “stuff” because it’s just “boom boom” music. But they are wrong.
Thanks to its immense variety, one of the benefits of EDM is that everyone can have a different perception, interpretation. Some sub-genres such as psytrance or techno allow us to live unique experiences because of the psychedelic, unusual sounds that it offers. Indeed, music with few words leaves a greater field of possibility for the brain and the person who listens to it.
“The spirit of house music, electronic music, in the beginning, was to break the rules, to do things in many different ways.” – Thomas Bangalter
What Listening to EDM Says About You?
Well, this can be a tricky one. Everyone is different no matter what they are listening to. However, there are distinctive signs and characteristics of this genre that are found in the majority of the public.
Avant-Garde, in fact, EDM is probably the genre in which we find the most technical innovation since its creation.
Many musical innovations have emerged in EDM and then developed and spread to other genres.
For example, electro sounds are increasingly found in pop or in other more cutting-edge styles such as progressive metal.
The openness of mind goes hand in hand with the EDM community and the PLUR movement. One of the principles of the EDM community is to put everyone in the same spot and treat others with respect. No matter who you are, in the EDM community, you’re just like everyone else.
The benefits of EDM are not only about music but also about the community and the people around you.
Why Do People Find EDM Enjoyable?
There can be many reasons why people like EDM. Some are sentimental, such as music that reminds us of summer memories with friends. A festival where an artist was discovered, or a night of celebration in a club.
Many people also like it for its dancing appearance. A simple basis that allows you to dance easily and naturally.
One of the benefits of EDM is that it is very varied. Indeed, there are so many sub-genres of EDM that it is very easy to go from one sub-genre to another to find the one that suits you. Some subgenres are very accessible to a large part of the public.
In addition to the social aspects, EDM music brings a lot more to the mental aspect. Whether it is by triggering particular emotions, forcing you to surpass yourself, or simply bringing about a better life.
The benefits of EDM are not just benefits that affect the brain, not only regarding the EDM psychology aspect. These are benefits that also affect the physical condition and the social aspect. Very few genres of music can afford such exploits and so many benefits.
I love a lot of different styles, but my heart belongs to electronic music.