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Music and the Brain [Effects of Music on the Brain]

Find out how music affects your brain & what are the benefits of listening to music.

how does music affect the brain

Music provides us with a melody that connects our current culture to that of our ancestors.

It provides us with a tool that can increase focus, inspire harder work, or chase a dream.

We often use music to share our love with family and friends. It can be used to communicate any emotional state, including anger, as a way to draw closer to others or cope with challenging feelings.

Every culture in the recorded history of humanity incorporated music in their lives in some way. Even tribes isolated from the rest of the world developed their own melodies as a way to embrace spirituality, celebrate life events, or create oral traditions.

With over 55,000 years of exposure to music, the human brain has evolved in such a way that the audio frequencies we encounter can create specific and immediate improvements in our lives.

The benefits that we receive from music are numerous. Many of them occur without us thinking about what the sounds and melodies are doing.

Are you ready to see how music creates positive impacts on your life every day?

Best Meditation Music – click to learn more!

List of the Best Ways Music Affects the Brain

Music can impact the brain and the body in numerous and sometimes unexpected ways.

You might feel your feet start to tap. Your fingers might begin to tap out the rhythm of the beat that you’re hearing.

Sometimes your neck, shoulders, or head will bob in time to the rhythms that you experience. As the music takes your body for a ride, there are some incredible ways that it can positively affect the brain as well.

#1. Music can improve your memory.

Music has a unique ability to improve the memory mechanisms of the brain.

It helps to bring back memories, as far back as childhood, to make them feel relevant once again.

This benefit engages whenever you hear a specific piece of music that is related to a memory stored in your brain.

It might have been something you heard on the radio, a TV show, or a song your parents used to sing.

The memory of that moment comes back with incredible detail once you hear that song.

The power of music is strong enough that it cuts through dementia and health issues like Alzheimer’s disease.

Patients can sing the songs that they learned as a young adult even when trying to cope with severe mental health issues. It can bring out personal stories, inspire people to play a musical instrument, or recall a beloved melody in an instant.

This effect creates the potential to treat individuals suffering from amnesia, traumatic brain injuries, and health issues like Alzheimer’s disease through music.

#2. Music improves your focus.

Have you ever noticed what happens when your favorite song comes on your playlist?

A sort of tunnel vision happens where you focus on the elements of the song and how they make you feel.

This improved focus occurs because music is one of the few things in this world that stimulates the entire brain instead of just a portion of it.

You can apply this benefit of music in several unique ways.

Some people use music to help them clear their minds when meditating.

Others use music while studying or working so they can retain more of the information that they are attempting to absorb.

It is useful during a lengthy session of exercise on a treadmill because it takes the mind’s focus off of fatigue and toward whatever the end goal happens to be.

One of the most novel focal points that music is able to create is a focus on sleep.

For those who struggle to clear their minds because of racing thoughts or to-do lists at night, music will eliminate those distractions effectively and cause the brain to focus on the task at hand instead.

#3. Music can increase your creativity.

Ambient music helps to improve and increase personal creativity.

Ravi Mehta, Professor of Business Administration at the University of Illinois, notes that ambient noise at 70 decibels will enhance an individual’s performance on specific creative tasks.

Mehta also notes in the study, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, that enhanced creativity through music increases the chances that a customer will purchase an innovative product.

It is essential to keep ambient music at the 70-decibel level. Researchers discovered that increasing the volume of the music would also increase personal distraction levels.

The conclusion is this: instead of working in a quiet room, try working in a room with music in the background.

The presence of music generates creative ideas by activating the parts of the brain that think in abstract ways.

#4. Music can increase your IQ scores.

Studies have revealed that children who regularly listened to music, or regularly played musical instruments, were able to develop a much higher verbal IQ than other children of the same age who did not have exposure to music.

In just 20 days of music exposure, through classroom instruction, Dr. Sylvain Moreno found that 90% of children exposed to music experienced physical changes in their brain that allowed for a rapid transfer of cognitive information.

In the study conducted by York University, children between the ages of 4-6 participated in a computer-based training program with animated projections and colorful cartoons.

One group was exposed to music during the program, while the other was not.

Each group received two 1-hour sessions in a classroom setting for more than 4 weeks.

The children exposed to music tested higher on verbal IQ tests involving word recall, information analyzation, and language-based reasoning.

#5. Music provides you with coping mechanisms.

Music shapes the way we perceive the world around us.

It shifts the state of consciousness of an individual in numerous ways.

Since 1992, numerous studies have shown that music makes time seem to have an increased speed when played in environments where waiting is required.

Grocery store checkout lines and waiting rooms both employ music because it changes a person’s judgment of time.

Music even creates a separate sensation of time that is based on the personal perceptions of its cadence and tempo.

Fast melodies make time seem to speed up. Slow songs make time seem to slow down.

It can even affect how people experience experimental time, which is the time it takes to engage in states of tension and resolution.

#6. Music can help you to control pain.

Music changes how we perceive physical stimuli when experiencing a challenging situation.

It is powerful enough to control the intensity of the discomfort being experienced when an injury occurs.

Music controls pain at all levels of suffering.

Even patients who are receiving end-of-life hospice care report feeling less pain when there is music playing in their environment.

Music allows us to bridge the gap between realities when the brain encounters it at any level. People who experience traumatic brain injuries and the pain this event involves can continue to connect with their family and friends because of the power that a composition provides.

You can increase this benefit even more when you create music in addition to listening to it every day.

In a total of 11 studies, evidence suggests that music composition offers a positive impact on physical comfort, energy, fatigue, and anxiety.

If you feel the urge to listen to a favorite song, it could be your brain telling you that it needs music in that moment to be a tool to inspire healing.

#7. Music can help your personality to evolve.

Another interesting way in which music affects our brains is the fact that the musical choices we make work to shape our personalities.

Music helps each of us to define the person we one day become.

In several tests, studies, and research projects examining music and youth development, the discovered results all point to the fact that specific musical preferences do indeed correspond to particular character traits in many individuals.

Opera fans, for example, were generally found to be gentle, creative, and have high levels of self-esteem.

Country music fans were found to be outgoing and very hardworking.

Reggae fans were found to be far more laid back and much more at ease with themselves and the world around them.

Based on our preferences for music, social preferences, and stigmas develop between fans of different music genres.

This further helps to shape how each person sees and interacts with the world around them.

#8. Music improves personal productivity levels.

Another great way in which music is able to influence us and affect our bodies, and one which we touched upon previously, is the fact that music can help to increase and improve productivity in certain circumstances and tasks.

Music and brain research conducted over the years has found that music stimulates human brain receptors, which communicate with other parts of the body, and can help to improve productivity in a number of different ways.

Studies have also found that listening to your favorite music will help stimulate adrenaline secretion, and other hormones, which will increase your mental focus, as well as physical energy levels too.

Let’s look at working out in the gym as an example. When we hear our favorite song, played at a high volume, our brains will recognize this, and stimulate the adrenal glands.

The created adrenalin from gland stimulation provides more thought clarity, increased energy, and improved focus so that your productivity levels can rise dramatically.

This outcome can make your workouts become more effective, if you are feeling tired or lethargic after a challenging session. It can also function as a natural pick-me-up after a long day at work.

Some people will feel stronger once their adrenalin kicks in after listening to some music. It gives you an opportunity to lose yourself in the melodies while you work, making the experience more enjoyable.

It is a benefit of music that applies to any form of physical activity, from household chores to athletic training sessions.

#9. Music increases your ability to pay attention to visual cues.

Certain types of music improve a person’s visual attention levels.

In a small study involving 19 patients, the National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan discovered that “pleasant” music could improve visual attention in patients with unilateral neglect.

After experiencing a stroke in the right hemisphere of the brain, participants in the study were given three music options: pleasant, unpleasant, and white noise within 7 days of their medical event.

The individual participants in the study were in charge of providing the definitions of what they felt were pleasant or unpleasant compositions.

When the participants heard pleasant music, then they were more likely to experience a positive mood when compared to songs and melodies that they disliked.

At the same time, these patients all showed improvement on eye movement and task completion during the times when they listened to pleasant music.

#10. Music can help your body to improve its hormonal balance.

When we listen to sad music, melodies that we don’t enjoy, or compositions that cause us to recall uncomfortable memories, then there are stress hormones like cortisol that are released by the body.

As the cortisol levels increase, there are higher levels of anxiety begin to appear.

If hormone levels become unbalanced to a great extent, then severe stress events may occur.

When we listen to music which we enjoy, then dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins are released.

This combination makes us feel happy, confident, and relaxed.

These are the same hormones which are released when we exercise, have fun, or consume foods which we enjoy eating.

If you love to eat chocolate, your body responds in the same way as if you like to listen to Nirvana.

#11. Music helps to relieve anxiety.

Listening to your favorite songs can be just as beneficial as a 30-minute massage can be at relieving worry and anxiety.

This benefit occurs because blood flow becomes more efficient and the mind clears itself of all the “what if” scenarios that it has been considering.

When the body has more access to oxygen, then there are fewer thought distractions that occur in the mind. That reduces the likelihood of experiencing negative energy, which can then promote stronger levels of happiness.

If you are interested in doubling the impact that music can provide in this category, then consider scheduling that massage with your favorite playlist.

This outcome is particularly useful for individuals who are facing a difficult medical diagnosis.

A Stage IV cancer diagnosis, debilitating diseases, and additional health issues can create enormous levels of anxiety and stress on an individual.

By focusing on the music instead of the present problems, the anxiety decreases, while the quality of a person’s life improves.

#12. Music can improve your reasoning and motor skill development.

When motions are paired with songs, it allows children to improve the coordination of their fine motor skills.

Did you make finger motions while singing the Itsy-Bitsy Spider while growing up?

Did you count all of the monkeys that were jumping on the bed with your fingers?

These actions helped to practice control of the hand and fingers. The rhythms of the song, combined with your physical actions that correspond to the music, help the brain to transfer memories of that moment to your long-term storage centers.

Dancing provides the same benefit when you are listening to music, even if the songs are playing as a thought in your mind.

Children who learn songs by dancing experience higher levels of arm and leg control.

It also teaches children how to define their boundaries for comfort.

Learning how to play a musical instrument creates improvements in these skills as well.

#13. Music makes it easier to engage in social events.

Music is often used at social events, parties, weddings, and concerts.

It provides the foundation for social activities which help to bring people together and relate with one another.

By sharing the same interests and tastes in music, people immediately have things in common.

This benefit is how we begin to form the first foundations of a relationship. When there is common ground with our musical choices and preferences, then it becomes easier to connect socially with others.

On first dates, for example, where small talk can be awkward, by talking about your tastes in music, your favorite bands or singers, you will discover there is something you have in common with the other person.

This benefit allows a conversation to progress forward.

You begin to get to know one another on a deeper level because of the common ground you found in music.

Choirs and singing groups are excellent examples of how music brings people together.

When singing as part of a group, and synchronizing with each other, feelings of affiliation within these groups will increase, and everyone can feel closer to one another than before.

#14. Music helps in the treatment of heart disease.

Heart disease is one of the biggest killers in the entire world.

Doing all that we can to help protect against it should be at the top of our list of priorities.

Common side effects associated with heart disease include stress and anxiety.

Studies have revealed that by listening to various forms of music, anxiety, stress, and tension levels in patients being treated for coronary heart disease dropped quite dramatically.

Blood pressure levels, which also play a key role in coronary health, were also significantly reduced.

#15. Music can lift your emotional IQ levels.

Another exciting benefit that music has on our brains is that it helps us to read other people effectively.

By listening to what people describe as “joyous” or “encouraging” music in regular intervals, people are able to identify facial expressions and body language associated with feelings of happiness and other similar emotions.

When doing the same with sad and depressing pieces of music, again, the same results were achieved, except this time with negative expressions and body language.

Children with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum experience some of the largest gains in emotional IQ improvement through the use of music therapy.

This occurs because music stimulates both hemispheres of the brain simultaneously.

Using this stimulation, specific communicative behaviors can be taught.

Interactions with other people are encouraged.

Over time, this process allows children to overcome some of the issues or behaviors that may work to hold them back.

#16. Music can bolster your immune system.

The immune system is your body’s natural defense mechanism against illness and disease.

If your immune system is strong, then you have a lower risk of experiencing ill health.

There are numerous ways to support a strong immune system.

You might take vitamins or specific supplements. You choose to eat certain foods.

Are you listening to your favorite music regularly too?

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, along with support from Sussex University, discovered simultaneously that listening to uplifting music improves antibody levels within the body.

In the study, researchers tested 300 people. They asked participants to listen to either dance music or a random collection of tones.

The participants listening to dance music experienced lower levels of cortisol release compared to those listening to random tones.

After 50 minutes of listening to the dance music, participants had higher levels of Immunoglobin A compared to the other group, which is the first line of defense against illness or disease.

Best Music For Meditation – click to learn more!

Do You Listen to Music Every Day?

Brainwave entrainment is one of the most useful ways to embrace the benefits of music in your life on a daily basis.

This approach to sound creates programs that can help your brain to fine-tune itself to create specific results in your life.

It allows your mind to become more receptive to the changes you wish to see through the use of specific audio frequencies. This process allows your neuropathways to match the tones it processes, creating brainwaves that can increase focus, help you sleep better, or other outcomes you prefer.

We embrace music because it can inspire us. The melodies in our favorite songs can generate emotional connections, relaxation, and more. That’s why it has always been part of our culture throughout history.

The next time that you start listening to music, consider using brainwave entrainment to see how it could create positive changes in your life.

You might be surprised at how useful music can be when you want to feel better or accomplish a specific goal.

You may also be interested in:

  1. Superbrain by Jim Kwik
  2. Foods good for the brain.
  3. Improve your brain power naturally

Aleksandr Solovev © 123RF.com

Varvara Gorbash © 123RF.com

Tithi Luadthong © 123RF.com

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