The Science Behind How Listening to Music Benefits Our Brain and Body
From the perspective of neuroscience, listening to music is one of the most complex things one can do.
Music has been linked to health and healing in ancient traditions for more than 30.000 years, long before the formal, organized music therapy field developed in the 20th century. Its effect on our brain, body and soul is undeniable.
Music is one of the few activities that involves using the whole brain. From the perspective of neuroscience, listening to music is one of the most complex things one can do. The effects are instant. Not all types of music have favorable effects, but for the most part, (according to a published scientific research), exposure to classical music has beneficial effects not only for improving memory and focusing attention, learning language, but also for physical coordination and development, relaxation, pain and stress relief.
Music and Wellbeing – highlights Listening to classical music is scientifically proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of wellbeing
Music and Brain
♪ Listening to music involves most cognitive skills and uses most of the brain.
♪ Because of the extreme complexity of the brain networks involved with listening to music, it causes unique brain plasticity. This includes improvement of brain capacities unrelated to music, such as learning new sensory and motor skills, and abstract concepts.
♪ When music produces chills down the spine, the effect is from reward brain centers in the nucleus accumbens, brainstem, forebrain, and amygdala with cortex orbitofrontal and insula – same as any other reward for food, sex, drugs.
Music and Children
Why should expectant mothers engage in mindful listening
Why should parents expose their children to the world of music with care and love
♪ With music inherently multi modal, music is the ideal brain training for children – when training begins before the age of seven, neural systems have been created that last a lifetime.
♪ Babies appear to have a neural basis of understanding music. Infants respond to pitch and melody, they can distinguish scales, chords and consonant combinations and recognize the tunes. They can perceive complex music rhythms from different cultures – but lose this ability, if not exposed to it before age one.
Listening to classical music effects on memory and learning: reading, literacy skills, ability to learn foreign languages with 85%-100% efficiency, mathematical abilities, spatial-temporal reasoning, concentration, attention and memory performance, learning potential increased.
Listening to music improves physical performance: body movement and motor coordination, physiological (heart rate and blood pressure) and psychophysical (rating of perceived exertion) response, reduction in the feeling of fatigue
Listening to music improves productivity: raising efficiency in the performance of repetitive work tasks, eliminate fatigue symptoms caused by monotonous work
Listening to music reduces stress: decreases the amount of the cortisol, a stress related hormone produced by the body in response to stress; significantly reduces anxiety and effect of negative emotions; decreases insomnia; affects relaxation (heart and breathing rates)
Listening to music improves mood and decreases depression reduction in symptoms of depression, significant improvements in mood, social functioning and quality of life. The majority of researchers highlight two facts: first, different genuine emotions can be physiologically defined according to autonomic, bodily functions (e.g. changes in heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, skin temperature) and second, the emotional reactions produced by music are the “real thing”. Thus, music doesn’t simply convey intended emotions that we can recognize, but rather induces genuine emotions in the listener.