By: Rachel Cosgriff

As COVID-19 has entered the lives of this world, a lot of darkness has too. The loss, emotion, pain, loneliness has overcome lots of us at one point in time. Being a college student and being sent home, it required acceptance of the situation and it took many of us time to adjust (as it would anyone). There was something that helped me through this pandemic and it still does- music. Music is a gift to our ears and soul; it allows us to connect with one another and that is exactly what we all need as we go through COVID-19 together. I want to go through ways that not only music has helped many psychologically, but how its effected artists & their creative sense/motivation.

The abundance of benefits to music comes through every song, every lyric, every artist we listen to. Beginning with a reduction to anxiety, according to author Kendra Cherry. Anxiety/stress is something we have all experienced this past year. Finding ways to decrease our anxious selves is helpful in any situation. On top of that, music can help you to become a little more motivated. I know speaking to a lot of friends and family, we all have found a lack of motivation these days. Is that because we have been sheltered from the world so long? most likely! But, with the constant listening to music, it has truly helped pick me up in so many situations like: school work, exercise, finding jobs/internships, and just being up & active.

Going even further, music can help you to improve your endurance & even performance. Music can help you to walk or run a little faster, or maybe even walk/run a little bit longer. It keeps your body in the groove and that leaves you feeling very accomplished. Ultimately, all of these benefits lead to a decrease in depressive symptoms- music allows you to simply feel happy.

This also goes for the artists who create all the music we listen to daily. They thrive through music too and so many artists took advantage of COVID as a time to become their true selves. To show their true emotion.

Let’s start with one of the most accomplished artists of today- Taylor Swift. Not only has she created music within 3 different genres (country, pop, folk/alternative) but she has found success within each. During the high of this pandemic, Swift set off to create her album, Folklore. Releasing on July 24th of 2020, it brought shock to many, including myself. At this point, I wasn’t even aware that artists were making new music. This album of hers came out alongside a documentary about the way it was written and the why it was written. As I watched the documentary (on Disney+) I noticed the thought and precision she put into this album. Songs like, “This is me trying” is about mental health, which is something we all needed to hear mid-pandemic. “Pourin’ out my heart to a stranger But I didn’t pour the whiskey” is a lyric that displays the struggles of alcoholism. According to many, alcohol consumption has increased tremendously since the start of quarantine. People struggled and are still struggling, Swift knew that and she wrote her heart out to display her very own emotions/experiences. That is powerful.

Morgan Wallen is another artist who took the time and loneliness of quarantine to create music- and lots of it. His double album, Dangerous, of 30 total songs hit #1 for 10 weeks in a row. Breaking records of artists like Garth Brooks, so we can say his album was a success. At the beginning of 2020 he only had written 20 or less songs – then the beginning of COVID hit and he went on to write the other 10 songs. He had the time, the motivation, and the emotion to create music that the fans would love. I listened to the album as soon as it came out, January 8th of 2021. I really fell for every song and it’s still an album I go to for pick-me-ups & times where I want to relate to a situation. Wallen, in my eyes, did a phenomenal job of displaying a range of emotions and experiences- which in turn made this double album a forever success. And seemingly enough, COVID was what drove him to finish Dangerous; life is ironic like that.

I won’t fail to mention all of the online concerts that were put on for us during COVID. Artists from all around the world (Metallica, Eddie Vedder, Dave Matthews, Lindsey Buckingham, etc.) performed so that we could feel that sense of live music again. I took that as a reminder to keep my head up and continue pushing through lockdown. I think we all needed that reminder- and music helped me to do so. As we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I want to tell everyone that there is always an end to everything- including COVID-19. Throw on those tunes and rock out.