When the Segal family agreed to participate in the Music Makes it Home study, music was in their home, but it wasn’t necessarily a part of it. “We listened to music — the occasional spontaneous moment — but it was certainly very individual and sporadic,” explains Noah Segal, husband and father of two.
As participants in the study conducted in February, Amanda and Noah Segal, with their two sons Oliver and Beckham, were one of 30 families around the globe who spent a week without music out loud and a week with all the music they wanted. The results were pretty clear: people feel closer, more loving and generally happier when they share time with their loved ones listening to music. For the Segals, this meant more quality time in the kitchen, an exploration (and acceptance) of dad’s musical taste, a newfound love for The Jackson 5, and a lot of spontaneous dance parties.
“People feel closer, more loving and generally happier when they share time with their loved ones listening to music.”
Now, two months after the experiment has ended, the music remains — and it’s as integral to the house as the door lock or refrigerator.
Music is the new light bulb
“When you turn on the light, you turn on the Sonos in the kitchen,” Noah says, noting the new reflex.
With more music on, Oliver and Beckham have become increasingly open to mom and dad’s choice of music. Take Beckham, named after Beck, who just months ago had never wanted to listen to his namesake. Now, Beck is one of Beckham’s most-played artists.
“Surprisingly, the kids have put up with my taste,” laughs Noah. “They rarely walk out on me.”
In the two months since setting up their Sonos, the Segals have spent the time discovering new artists and unearthing old favorites. “It’s way easier to discover new music with streaming music,” Noah says. “If I was 14 at the height of my music life and had this, I would have found much more, and been cooler. My 12-year-old found The Jackson 5 and has played them like — 8 billion times since.”
Of course, just because the amount of music being played has gone up doesn’t mean that life has slowed down. Between work and school and after-school activities and every to-do in between, the Segals never expected the gift of more time. But, what they haven’t gotten in quantity, they’ve gotten in quality — thanks to the tunes.
Life, out loud
“The time spent hasn’t changed. Life is crazy,” Noah explains. “But if you are in the room and the music is on, it tends to extend your stay just a little. We don’t rush out as fast. And the effect is qualitative — our time spent is better spent, not actually increased.”
Another game-changer? Cooking has become more fun. “Music takes the edge off. Food may not be tastier, but cooking time is better. Food is more lovingly made.”
“Music takes the edge off. Food may not be tastier, but cooking time is better.”
This all makes sense, according to Daniel J. Levitin, Ph.D., Neuroscientist and Author of This Is Your Brain on Music. “For the first time, we’re seeing evidence that the music causes people to feel closer to one another: Family members [in this study] who listen to the most music out loud were 17 percent more likely to say ‘I love you’ than those who didn’t listen at all.” he explains.
During the initial week-long study, he adds, “Families who listened to the most music spent three hours and 13 minutes more time together per week than those who listened the least. And they spent more time in the same room physically closer to one another — 12 percent closer in proximity to one another, to be exact.”
In the months since the initial study, there’s no denying that music has officially moved into the Segal home, and become as essential as a kitchen appliance. “Everyone we talk to we tell to get Sonos – you’ve got to buy the blender, buy the microwave, and one of these speakers in the kitchen,” Noah says.