Music and Finding Solace during These Uncertain Times

Guest Post by Dr. Ron Johnson
Professor, School of Business, American Public University System

Music is a world within itself
With a language we all understand
With an equal opportunity
For all to sing, dance and clap their hands.

Stevie Wonder, Sir Duke

These immortal words are from Stevie Wonder, formerly known as Little Stevie Wonder. Is it any wonder that in times like these, we turn to something as primal, as rhythmic and dare I say, soothing to the soul, like music? There has been research that suggests music makes us feel good.

Just as the seasons turn four times a year, it seems there is a new music style vying for our attention. K-pop, grunge (wait – that was from the 1990s), grime, electronic dance music (EDM), and many other styles have joined the lexicon of popular music. And just as there are four seasons of the year, one would be hard-pressed to top these four musical genres: classical, jazz, rhythm and blues, and rock. They have all spread joy throughout the world, inspiring millions of devotees.

Listening to music is something I do daily – in fact, most of the day, I listen to music. A typical day begins with breakfast, the morning paper (on my iPad), and a cup of coffee.

During this wake-up period, I am usually listening to classical music. I then transition to my home office where my music is turned to something a bit different – either jazz or a curated station from my music provider. Finally, to get through the afternoons and early evening work periods, I love listening to classic rock – mainly from the 1960s and 1970s.

Some people do not like music. Science says it has something to do with the pleasure center of a person’s brain.

Just as many can’t understand (or trust) a person who doesn’t like dogs or cats, I feel the same way about music. Why doesn’t everyone feel the same joy I experience when listening to a Beethoven symphony, a Wagner opera, one of the countless classic songs from The Beatles, or thousands of other examples I can provide?

Music makes us move, dance, jump up and down, and feel joy. In a time of stress, music can provide us solace, help, and information in times of need.

What I love about music is how it inspires and helps us to become more human.  A recent example is the spontaneous outbreak of song in Italy, where residents have been living under a coronavirus lockdown. Listen to this performance, and you will understand what I mean.

Many of our favorite performers are reaching out to us through social media with songs of hope and inspiration. Bono from U2 posted this song – when I heard it the first time, I got chills down my spine.

Finally, we all know that we need to wash our hands for at least 20 seconds. Here are some special ways to reach that standard!

Remember, music will always be with us and there for you – during good times and bad, during our celebrations and mournings, and whenever we need hope. Do yourself a favor and listen to the music!

About the Author

Ron Johnson, Ph.D. is a lifelong music lover – the first record he bought was Windy by The Association. When he’s not listening to music, Ron is a Professor for American Public University System, School of Business, Management Program.

Subjects of Interest


Higher Education

Independent Schools


Student Persistence