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.
1540
views

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

Popular Right Now

It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
886657
views

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Short Stories On Odyssey: Roses

What's worth more than red roses?

720
views

Five years old and a bouquet of roses rested in her hands. The audience-- clapped away her performance, giving her a standing ovation. She's smiling then because everything made sense, her happiness as bright as the roses she held in her hands.

Fifteen now, and a pile of papers rested on her desk. The teachers all smiled when she walked down the aisle and gave them her presentation. She was content then but oh so stressed, but her parents happy she had an A as a grade, not red on her chest.

Eighteen now and a trail of tears followed her to the door. Partying, and doing some wild things, she just didn't know who she was. She's crying now, doesn't know anymore, slamming her fists into walls, pricking her fingers on roses' thorns.

Twenty-one and a bundle of bills were grasped in her hands. All the men-- clapped and roared as she sold her soul, to the pole, for a dance. She's frowning now because everything went wrong, but she has to stay strong, for rich green money, is worth more than red roses.

Related Content

Facebook Comments