Music is considered to be one of the activities where people respond similarly. Music connects all types of different people across diverse traditions, cultures and practices around the globe. It is true to say music plays a vital role in our day to day activities whether we are aware of or not.
For some, music helps pep them up; for others, it helps them relax. Can you imagine sitting down at a piano or using a violin? You will for sure have some fun or get challenges in different ways. Apart from the pleasure received from performing and practicing, playing and learning music comes with lots of benefits to our mind. For example, playing music helps increase our coordination, memory and can also assist in changing our brain structure. Students studying music in schools are more likely to perform well in non music subjects compared to students who don’t study music.
Below are the many ways music benefits your mind.
1. Music Helps in Reducing Depression and Stress
The previous meta-analysis of 400 studies in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences by Mona Lisa Chanda and Daniel J. Levitin reveals several benefits that come with listening to music which includes lowering of cortisol and stress hormone. In one of the reviews, most of the patients who were about to undergo surgery and listened to music are said to have had lower cortisol and less anxiety compared to people who used drugs. The analysis also revealed that music had positive effects on the chemistry of the brain, physical and associated health benefits in the following areas:
- Stress reduction
- Aids social bonding
- Lifts mood
- Boosting immunity
When one listens to music, it triggers the brains nucleus acumens that is tasked with releasing of the feel-good neurochemical dopamine that is of an essential part of the motivational systems, pleasure rewarding and plays a vital role in learning. High levels of dopamine help enhance memory, improve concentration and boosts mood. Dopamine refers to the chemical that is responsible for the yummy and relaxed feelings one gets when they take chocolate or experiences an orgasm.
According to scientific research findings by Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) music can assist alleviate depression and help an individual feel in control of their life. There is evidence that listening to music can help in the rewiring of brain trauma. Enjoying live music or playing music with other people helps get the brain hormone oxytocin flowing thereby increasing connectedness feeling, social bonding and trust.
Another study revealed by Blackwell Publishing Ltd is that listening to soft music helps in reducing chronic pain by 21% and depression by 25%.
2. Music Enhances Cognition
Music does have the power to improve particular higher brain functions and can help make one smarter. Science has revealed that listening to music helps in promoting literacy, mathematical abilities, reasoning and reading skills.
Scans on the brain of individuals who play and listen to music revealed brain areas responsible for spatial coordination, motor control, auditory processing and developed callosum. Corpus callosum refers to nerve fibres band connecting two sides of the brain making communication possible.
One of the great things you can do for your brain is learning to play a musical instrument at youthful age. One of the studies conducted by Irvine Shaw a physicist and researcher at the Centre for Neurobiology of Learning and Memory in University of California revealed four years of attending music lessons would help in improving specific brain functions especially when you are in your youth.
In case you are not a musician, listening to music for enjoyment does have positive effects too. Grown-up people who listened to particular types of music experienced improved episodic memory and increased processing speed. Other tests revealed background music could enhance creativity on some tasks, increase productivity and improve cognitive performance. However, one needs to be careful about the type of music he or she listens. There is music which forces your brain to multi-task and can easily interfere with information processing and reading comprehension.
3. Music Helps Improve Concentration and Learning
According to the findings by University of Kansas Medical Center researchers on listening to music, people who attend music lessons regularly do have more learning capacity compared to people who do not. Music is known to encourage neuroplasticity which is the ability of your brain to grow and learn.
Active engagement with musical sounds not only improves neuroplasticity but it also makes it possible for the nervous system to offer stable scaffolding of essential patterns that are important to learning. The brain is not in a position to process all of the sensory information and must enhance which is relevant. Playing a musical instrument makes the brain choose appropriate things of a complex process which can involve remembering or reading a score, coordination and timing of issues with other musicians.
Any musician’s brain selectively improves information bearing sound elements. The nervous system does make an association between complex sounds together with their meanings in an essential interrelationship between the cognitive and sensory processes.
4. Music Changes the Function and Structure of the Brain
According to 1998 Science research findings by Christo Pantev, then at the University of Munster in Germany revealed that musician’s brains are functionally and structurally different from the minds of people who don’t play musical instruments. Individuals who learn to play various musical instruments can always expect their brains to change in function and structure. For example, when people learn to play piano, part of their mind that represents the movements of their fingers gets bigger. Musicians are also known to be better when it comes to pitching identification and speech sounds.
There was also a revelation that the corpus callosum, the tissue strip that connects the right and left brain hemisphere is more extensive in musicians. This means that the two musician brain’s halves are better at communicating with each other when compared to the minds of nonmusicians. Whenever information is transferred more efficiently, the brain memories together with other cognitive processes do benefit.
5.Music boots the power of the brain
As it has been previously mentioned, music does improve the brain function thereby boosting the brain power. Learning to play a musical instrument can be compared to Olympic Games training for the brain. It helps in teaching the brain how to solve problems. There is evidence that shows individuals that have gone through musical training are much better at science and mathematics.
While the benefits of the brain are considered to be greater to those individuals that start young, it is never late for one to reap sweet brain rewards. Since your mind is neuroplastic throughout your life, it can improve and adapt from music learning at any age.
6.Music Helps in Improving Connectivity and Creativity
Music helps in improving creativity. However, not all music genres or types do have this effect. It is believed that happy and upbeat tunes can encourage innovative and creative thinking. There are people who used the MRI to help see how the brains of the participants reacted to music which they liked.
These experiments’ helped in revealing how people’s brains lit up more when responding to their favourite tracks. According to scientists, listening to your favourite music makes an enormous difference in how your mind will respond.
Listening to music is capable of altering the connectivity of brain network organization and preference to music dictates the connectivity that can be expected.
When listening to music, you do not like the connectivity of the brain between the emotional centres and the memory does not light up. According to MRI images, our minds are less connected when listening to music we do not like. According to these findings, it is possible that when you listen to your preferred music, you are in a position to engage such functions of the brain.
7. Music Helps in Improving Language Skills of the Brain
Individuals who have speaking or language challenges are capable of benefiting from some different therapies such as music therapy.
Scientific research by The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke researchers revealed that music activated different parts of the brain including an overlap where the brain processes language and music. The studies also discovered that musicians both professionals and amateurs were in a position to hear sounds they targeted in a noisy environment which is a great skill.
8. Music Listening Helps in Strengthening Executive Function of the Brain
The brains executive functions consist of several critical tasks from planning to problem-solving to information processing. Music training has proved to have had positive effects on the brain’s executive functions. There were improvements in processing speed, working memory and cognitive flexibility which explains the link to academic achievement. Children’s brain with musical training revealed more activation and looked more mature in executive functioning networks terms. Both grownups and children had improved functioning skills compared to non musicians.
More people have resorted to playing musical instruments and listening to music to help improve brain functions.
Learning how to play a musical instrument and performing songs instrumentally and vocally is a process that requires lots of attention and goal-directed behaviour. The more you train your brain in learning music, the more you will improve all the executive functions of the brain and your brain is made stronger for other tasks.
If you are keen to find a great music school for your child, check out Tiano Academy Music Lesson and we welcome you to visit us any time soon!
For more tips and
How to Choose the Best Piano Teacher for Your Child