Do you remember the last time you have heard a song and all of a sudden you were overwhelmed with feelings and memories? The music has the power to do that. It links our memories and feelings to a specific tune. There are cases where people remembered something they couldn’t because of head trauma and something like that.
Also, playing a musical instrument drastically improves your memory, too. In the next few paragraphs we are going to discuss the effects of the music to our memory.
What’s happening in the brain?
Generally, the music has a massive influence on the people and their emotions. It really doesn’t matter whether we like a specific kind of music, it will trigger an emotion – positive or negative. This is probably the reason why some of our deepest memories are closely connected to music.
There was a recent study where a selection of thirty songs was played to a group of people. How were the songs selected? They had to be popular when the target group of people was at the age of 8 to 18. The purpose of this study was to show what’s going on in their brains while they were listening to the songs.
The medial pre-frontal cortex is the part of the brain which is in charge of the long-term memory. The study showed that there was an increased neural activity in this region while the people were listening to the selected songs. So, does it prove that the memory is better if you listen to music?
Music improves cognition and memory
It is very well known that the cognitive and emotional development is positively affected by playing an instrument. However, today we hear more often that, not only the memory which is closely connected to music is improved if you play an instrument, but the whole memory is much better as well.
According to that there is nothing similar to music when it comes to activating the brain. When you play a musical instrument, the working memories, and also the language and speech centers, benefit the most.
It is also known that people who will possibly experience hearing issues because of genetics can postpone these issues if they start playing an instrument. Clearly, even if this isn’t completely true it’s worth trying it.
As a result, one of the best things you can do for your child is to buy him or her a musical instrument and make him start playing it. If the child has no interest in it, it’s OK, but if it shows even a little interest and talent then you should support it. You won’t regret it anyways. Your child will have a companion for life.
The music and the unconscious
Is there a close connection between the music and the unconscious? Of course, there is.
When we speak about our memory we can say that we have an implicit and explicit memory.
Since we want to make a connection to the unconscious we will explain the explicit memory first. We can say that it’s like a folder in our computer and we access this folder and the files stored there and use (copy, paste, listen, watch, read) whatever we want, any time we want it. Let’s say we need to memorize an email address. We will use our explicit memory for this and every time we need it we will just take it from there.
On the other hand, the implicit memory resides in the unconscious area. We have no direct control over the data stored there. But, a specific thing can stimulate and trigger that memory.
Studying with music?
You must have already heard about the connection between studying and music. We have mentioned before that playing an instrument can boost your memory, but it is also well known that just listening to music can help you study better.
However, this is not always the rule. For example, we don’t like, and we don’t react, the same to every type of music. Today’s teens will probably react better if they hear Adele than something that was popular back in the ‘80s. It’s normal. On the other hand, scientists claim that classical music is the one which can make everyone study better. However, the best thing is to try this by yourself. Choose the music you like the most, set your portable speakers to medium level and try to study while listening to your favorite songs. Also try with classical music and see if it makes a difference. You can also try listening to foreign music, instrumentals and so on. Chances are that you will find something that works for you.
If we had to find someone who doesn’t like music it would be a very difficult job. Even those who don’t listen to music quite often have a song or two that triggers their emotions.
On the other hand, if we show our children how important and beneficial music can be and point them to the right direction we will make them a huge favor for the rest of their lives. Now when you know more about the close connection between our memory and listening to music, and even playing music, it is clear that we have to surround ourselves with music all the time. So, just let the music play and relax. Our brain will do the rest.