Why music?


Music arose independently in virtually every human population on earth. This is a strong indication that it fulfilled an evolutionary function- that it has afforded human beings a survival advantage.

Upon reflection, music seems to be a kind of language- we use it to communicate and connect with other people. And like verbal language it seems intrinsic only to human beings.

But unlike the spoken word, music is not primarily a language of concept and intellect. Rather, it is a language of emotion. We can certainly reflect on it intellectually, but above all, we feel it. Music elicits in us a physical sensation that requires no further processing in order to be understood.

I propose that the fitness advantage that music afforded our ancestors (and continues to afford human beings today) is twofold. Firstly, it has acted as a tool for community and team-building. A shared rhythm is a shared bond- and tribes that were bonded, emotionally connected, and ready to share and sacrifice together were almost certainly more likely to survive.

No other activity so seamlessly combines emotion with intellect the way music does.

Michael Gutiérrez

Secondly, I believe music offers human beings a way to express and process their emotions.  Human beings evolved from instinctual, intuitive creatures to cognitive, self-reflecting beings in an incredibly short span of time. We, as modern humans can attest to the internal friction that is generated when the cognitive, social and cultural software running in our pre-frontal lobes comes into conflict with the needs and affects of the more primitive structures in our brain. If not given a productive outlet, the inevitable emotional distress that arises within our own mind can have a very detrimental effect on our psyche. One might speculate that unchecked, this same inner strife would have given rise to interpersonal conflict that could have destabilized the intricate social order on which the survival of early human beings depended.

I therefore propose that the reason that music continues to be such a ubiquitous staple of human societies is that the co-evolution of people and music has “hard wired” our brains and bodies to respond to music in a powerful, and emotionally therapeutic way.

It is this hard wiring that the Podium Experience seeks to use as a channel to access participants’ intrapersonal operating for the purpose of feeling and experiencing themselves as leaders beyond merely understanding the intellectual concepts of leadership.