Music And The Brain: How Does Music Affect The Brain?

Music And The Brain: How Does Music Affect The Brain?

While there is not a definite answer yet, those trained in the science of the mind and behavior, and other scientists, are slowly beginning to develop theories as to why music might have an effect on intelligence.
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Music is so universal that almost everyone listens to it. Every known culture in the world has music. It is a form of art and a way of expressing emotions without words. It has been proven that music influences humans both in good and bad ways, and people perceive and respond to music in different ways. There are many bodily responses to music such as strengthening or weakening emotions from a particular event (such as at a funeral) or affecting people’s memory.

The influence of music on society can be seen clearly from modern history. Thomas Jefferson played the violin for hours at a time while in the process of writing The Declaration of Independence to help him relax enough to write. Albert Einstein, recognized as one of the smartest men who has ever lived, was very fond of music as well and played the violin and piano. Not only was music relaxing to Einstein, but it also helped him with his work on his theories. He would go back and forth from working on a theory to playing a few chords on the piano, jotting something down and then returning to his study. In both cases, music has influenced these well-known people in history, specifically helping them to focus and relax when trying to perform a task.

A number of studies have indicated that listening to Mozart's work may temporarily increase cognitive skills however other studies have found no significant effects. “The Mozart Effect” is a study that includes various hypotheses suggesting that listening to Mozart’s music can increase your intelligence, help you with short-term improvement on certain tasks, or that listening to classical music in early childhood has had a beneficial effect on mental development. This was first started by Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis in his 1991 book, “Pourquoi Mozart?” and talked about how classical music stimulates the brain.

It has been found that slow music can slow down your heartbeat and the breathing rate, plus bring down blood pressure. The brain can respond in different ways based off of the order of the music such as from the Baroque and Classical periods. This includes repetition and changes, certain patterns of rhythm, and pitch/contrasts in mood, and all this causes the human mind to perform better when listening to this order of music. King George I of England had problems with memory loss and stress management so he read from the Bible the story of King Saul and recognized that Saul had experienced the same type of problems that he was experiencing. George recognized that Saul overcame his problems by using special music. With this story in mind, King George asked George Frederick Handel to write some special music for him that would help him in the same way that music helped Saul. Handel wrote his Water Music for this purpose- one cannot deny the power of music.

In a recent survey that I created online, I asked friends, family and peers (through Facebook, email and other social media) to answer the questions I asked them. I had surveyed a hundred people of all different ages and from different areas, depending on who took the survey. In my data analysis, eighty-three percent of the people said they listen to classical music, or sometimes listen to it. The next question I asked was how often they listen to classical music and most wrote in answers of once or twice a week and some never listening to classical music at all. Of the hundred people surveyed, sixty-two people said they found classical music helped them focus when performing a certain task. The other thirty-eight people didn’t find classical music to help them focus when performing a task, most adding on that it is actually distracting for them. Forty percent said that they found classical music to be the most relaxing genre of music. The reason I created this survey was to see how connected my friends, family and peers are with classical music.

There are many benefits to listening to classical music. One benefit is that it helps you increase physical performance. When you’re working out, music can make you cycle harder, run faster, boost your endurance, and sometimes improve your overall motivation about exercise. Another benefit is that music can help you get the quality sleep that your body needs because it helps you to relax your body physically while calming your mind. “College students affected by insomnia showed improvement when they substituted random sleep aids with forty-five minutes of classical music therapy” (Health Wire). Classical music has also helped ease chronic pain naturally. People in recovery from surgery, dealing with disability, etc. have been helped to reprogram the brain to focus on the music rather than the physical pain.

Classical music has been proven to improve mood and lower stress. If you are feeling anxious, sad, or out of control, taking a few minutes to stop for a little while and listen to music has helped to control those emotions. Studies have found that it has the same physiological effect of a massage. This technique causes positive chemical reactions within your brain that help with symptoms of stress and depression. But avoid listening to hard music or club beats if your emotions are chaotic since science has proven that they can sometimes make a bad situation worse emotionally. In Germany, they are testing the use of Mozart to lower driver aggression on the nation’s highways.

While there is not a definite answer yet, those trained in the science of the mind and behavior, and other scientists, are slowly beginning to develop theories as to why music might have an effect on intelligence. If anything, classical music has been proven to change some ways our bodies function, and has some effect on how we react to it, based off of studies of many different subjects. Why do we listen to music? We listen for entertainment, relaxation, to tell a story, etc. and so we’re all using music to affect our emotions. The music does affect us even when we don’t realize it. Since music is so universal, even the person reading this article has most likely listened to music and their brain has made some sort of reaction no matter what the music was.

Cover Image Credit: Google

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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The Football World Loses One Of Its Finest Players

Bart Starr passed away and NFL players, coaches, and fans all mourn the loss of the Packer legend, but his life and career will live on in hearts of Packer nation forever.

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Bart Starr passed away at the age of 85 in Birmingham, Alabama. The NFL lost a great player. The Green Bay Packers lost a hero. And, the world lost a true gentleman. Starr's legacy has surpassed his accomplishments on the gridiron. He inspired not only his peers but the generations that have come after him. He is — and always — will be remembered as a Hall of Famer, a champion, and a Packer.


Bart Starr was a Packers legend. Starr led Green Bay to six division titles and five world championships. As the quarterback of Vince Lombardi's offense, he kept the machine going and executed the plays like no other. His mastery of the position was a large part of the Packers success in the 1960s. Starr was also the perfect teammate for the perfect team. His leadership put him in command of the Packers. Starr's time in Green Bay will not be forgotten by former players, coaches, and the fans.

Bart Starr's resume is rivaled by few in NFL history. He played in 10 postseason games and won 9 of them. He led the Packers to victory in Super Bowls I and II and won the MVP award in both games. He was the MVP of the league in 1966 and was named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1960s. The Packers retired his number 15 and Starr has been inducted into the Packers and Pro Football Hall of Fame.


After his playing days, Starr would become the head coach of the Packers. He could not repeat the success he had on the field from the 1960s teams. His coaching years do not take away from his legacy as one of the all-time great Packers. Starr was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

One of Starr's last visits to Lambeau field was on a cold November night in 2015. Starr and his wife attended a ceremony in which the Packers retired Brett Favre's jersey number. Starr was the perfect personification of what it meant to be a Packer. His most heroic moment came in the 1967 NFL Championship Game. The Ice Bowl came down to a third and goal in Lambeau Field's south endzone against the Dallas Cowboys. Starr came to the sidelines and bravely told Vince Lombardi that he can sneak it in for a game-winning touchdown. Lombardi then replied, "Run it, and let's get the hell out of here." Starr ran a quarterback sneak for the game-winner and the Packers were off to Super Bowl II. Without Starr, Green Bay would not have won a second straight Super Bowl. His leadership in big game moments will live with Packers fans for a lifetime.

Vince Lombardi: A Football Life - The Ice Bowl

Starr leaves behind his wife Cherry, his son, and three granddaughters. Packers fans will have a tight grip on the memories Bart Starr and the 60s teams created. Starr left behind a template for being a Green Bay Packer. He also left a template for being a good man and a gentleman of the game of football. He was a competitor and a leader. Packer nation mourns for the loss of one of the finest human beings the game has seen.

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