Utrecht University: 36 alternative December songs to diversify your holiday playlist

Music for emotion regulation
During the Sound and Music Technology course, part of the Game and Media Technology Master’s programme, Volk gave her students the task of compiling up an alternative, more diverse playlist. They did this using their own context. “The students particularly thought about what they themselves wanted to hear during December, and why,” says Volk.

Some need heavy metal for cheering up, others want to wallow in sad music
In her research, Volk is specifically interested in the field of ‘music and wellbeing’ in which the ability of music to regulate our emotions plays an important role. And not everyone needs the same music to enhance their mood, when they are feeling low. “It always depends on your specific context, which music you really need at that moment,” Volk explains. “Some people thrive on heavy metal to cheer them up, while others listen to extra sad music in sad moments to fully feel the emotion in a cathartic way.” And it is precisely this conjunction, and this diversity, that Volk is interested in. How can you personalize music recommendations for emotion regulation for different people in different circumstances?

It simply cannot be the case that everyone gets that ‘warm December feeling’ when listening to Christmas songs

The month of December is pre-eminently a month in which music plays on our emotions. Think of Wham!’s Last Christmas, or Mariah Carrey’s classic earworm: they are all songs that are supposed to get us in a certain ‘Christmas mood’: a warm mood, infused by glühwein, happy families and gifts. But for some people, December is a period of stress, of chaos and family-related disputes. Christmas songs stir up that feeling. Moreover: not everyone even celebrates Christmas, or sees ‘December’ as a festive month, because of their religious or cultural background. “All this to say is that everyone experiences these songs in such a different way, that it can’t be the case that everyone gets that ‘warm December feeling’ when listening to Christmas songs. It is therefore important to broaden the image of what December means to us. And one way to do that is to offer a more diverse range of music” explains Volk.

Comments are closed.