Music buoys students in times of trouble

BY SHILPA AMBADIPUDI
Contributor

College has the potential to be exceedingly stressful for some students. Juggling homework, jobs, and a social life is no easy task.

For some students at the County College of Morris, one surefire way to de-stress is music.

Music takes precedence in the lives of so many people these days, especially youth. Headphones are a semi-permanent fixture in the ears of kids and teens.

Math major Anthony Cresco has his headphones in his ears more often than not; when

he’s walking from class to class, when he’s helping out around the house, when he’s doing his homework, and even when he’s in bed.

“Music helps me relax, so I go to sleep listening to a slow song playlist I made on my iPhone,” Cresco said.

Cresco said he listens to different types of music while’s he’s doing different things.

“Some types of music aren’t right for certain situations,” Cresco said. “I like to listen to fast songs with a dance beat while doing homework because it helps me get more into whatever I’m doing. I even like to sing along while doing calculus problems. I usually put the song ‘Dancing Out’ by French Horn Rebellion on repeat while working on math these days.”

For Cresco, music is a natural part of his life, and he feels strange when music isn’t playing.

“The radio is constantly on in my car and I turn the volume all the way up when I’m in a

really bad mood, because I always feel better after that.” Cresco said. “I also turn up the volume when I hear my  my favorite songs.”

Cresco said that there is power in music. He likes songs that relate to his life and cites one song specifically that helps him deal with his problems.

“My favorite song is ‘Second Chance’ by Shinedown,” Cresco said. “It’s about a person breaking away from his parents and living his own life, and I can relate to that because my parents didn’t want me to be a math teacher, but it’s what I really wanted. Listening to that song always helped me feel better after particularly bad fights with my parents about my career path. I still have those fights with my parents. They try to convince me to switch my major to Computer Science or something else that’ll serve me better in the future and I need that song to calm down.”

Cresco loves music, but his love is nothing compared to Josh Raymundo.

Raymundo, a music major, says that music is his whole life. Raymundo’s love of music stemmed from his mother, who played seven different instruments. Throughout his childhood, he and his siblings tried them all and each took to a couple. Raymundo plays the trumpet, trombone, French horn, and a little guitar. He also enjoys singing and songwriting.

“I write about things going on in my life and take inspiration from already existing songs that relate to my situation,” Raymundo said. “In my freshman year, I did some stupid things without thinking. I didn’t think they really mattered, until I found out that the new group of people I started hanging out with weren’t happy with my behavior and didn’t like me anymore. I felt like the song ‘Tangled’ by Maroon 5, my favorite band, fit my situation, and I got inspired to write my own song about it.”

Raymundo said most of his friends listened to music while doing homework, but he never could.

“I sometimes have the TV on in the background for the noise so everything isn’t eerily quiet, but I feel the need to dissect every song I listen to, so I can’t multitask with music,” Raymundo said.

However, he soon found songs he could use to study.

“My Music Theory professor last year told me about a YouTube channel called Brainwave Hub, and all the videos there are just instrumental and are supposed to boost different parts of your mind,” Raymundo said. “I listen to one called ‘Study Aid 12’ whenever I have a test. It helps me focus so much better than anything else.”

Raymundo spends his spare time listening to and making music, which is not that much different than what he does during class.

“I like to sing mash-ups with my friends,” Raymundo said. “I got the idea from the mash-ups The Cab and The Summer Set do with each other. I always liked both those bands, and the friendship that the lead singers share, so my friends and I mash-up songs from our favorite artists too. I think sometimes, there’s more than one song that sums up your feelings, and no song can sum it up perfectly. That’s why I write songs, and that’s why mash-ups can help. Combining the best lyrics in all the songs that you identify it makes music an even more powerful force than it was before. Making mash-ups is what helps me when I deal with the blow of a rejection or let down.”

Digital Media student Callie Scott said she thinks music makes everything more fun.

“I listen to it [music] all the time, while doing the dishes, while doing homework, while driving,” Scott said. “I listen to it in the mornings while I get ready and at night when I do my nightly cleansing ritual. It makes all those menial tasks more of an event.”

Scott listens to music whenever she needs to calm herself down or cheer herself up. She said she’s never happier than when she’s dancing around her room with Pandora blasting.

“I like Marina and the Diamonds because Marina’s songs always have a meaningful message, so I mainly listen to her and artists like her,” Scott said. “I adore the song ‘Play House’ by Colette Carr. Whenever I’m having a problem, I always hear a song on the radio that helps me.”

When asked for an example, she cited her current favorite song.

“I love that song ‘Stressed Out’ by Twenty One Pilots,” Scott said. “It’s my last semester at school, and all my friends are talking about where they are going to transfer, but I’m only going as far as an associate’s degree. I’m going to have to get a job by the fall, and I’m really worried about how different life is going to be when I’m thrust out into the world and have to make money, and ‘Stressed Out’ expresses those exact sentiments. And the song ‘7 Years’ by Lukas Graham always calms me down because that song talks about the way life will be at different ages, and I know it’s going to be hard, but eventually I’ll get a stable job and get married and have kids just like the speaker in ‘7 Years.’”

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