How Does Music Affect the Brain?

Although we all listen to music most of us never consider what music is doing to our brains cognitively speaking. Is it helping us learn? Is it having any affect at all? Does the affect it may have differ if we merely listen to music as opposed to actually playing an instrument? In my research on this topic I have discovered the answers to these questions and found them very interesting and enlightening.Music does affect our brains. Music can help you memorize information and can even help treat depression and anxiety. In a research study performed in North Texas researchers tested college students using music to assist in the aid of memorization. The test was successful. The students who listened to Handel’s Water Music in the background and were asked to visualize an image of the word when reviewing were more successful than those who did not listen to music or imagine the word. Now this doesn’t mean that music positively guarantee’s recall but it can help improve it. When actually taking the test it is helpful to hear the same music played again.
Listening to music can also aid you in depression, anxiety, or excessive worrying. When you have one orall of these problems your brains working power is hampered, as well as its reasoning ability. What is happening on a scientific level is that your brain is experiencing reduced levels of serotonin. Music affects a steep rise in levels of se ratonin, which has positive effects on brain cells controlling mood,sexual desires, memory power, learning, sleep, memory functions and more (read this … and this)
So listening to music can definitely affect the brain and we can all feel the effects when listening to our favorite songs or even when we get stuck at a show listening to a band we really dislike; but what is even more interesting, is how music affects the brain not when we listen to it but when we are playing an instrument.
Scientists have been working on a very controlled two year study in which they take a group of kids and follow there brain and cognitive development as the children begin to study music. Initially all the children’s cognitive levels were the same however after one year the children who had been musically trained showed great improvement in manual dexterity, music perception skills, and verbal and mathematic skills. There research also showed that nine to eleven year old’s who received three to four years of music training did significantly outperformed a control group (in mathematics and vocabulary) who didn’t receive music training (more…) I feel as though it is obvious from the research that playing an instrument significantly increases your cognitive ability. What amazes me is how important to learning music training is and yet we take it out of all the schools.I hope the research helps bring music back to public schools.

Music and Studying

Music has an incredibly powerful impact on the human mind. It has the power and ability to influence moods, calm nerves, excite senses and even evoke within us emotional responses. Our brains are able detect melodies, rhythms and beats. It is no mystery why it is referred to as the universal language of the world. Parents are encouraged to expose their children to classical music at a young age to stimulate and increase learning potential.
As an artist, I recognize music as playing a crucial role in my creative process. I may hear a song of any era and genre randomly play on my iPod and suddenly rich visual images that otherwise would not be there begin surfacing. Music inspires our mind to reach great heights.
Having such a powerful influence over mind and body, how exactly does music affect a student’s ability to concentrate? A study conducted by doctor Laurence O’Donnell entitled,Music and the Brain detected classical music, specifically from the baroque period causes our heart beat as well as pulse rate to relax to the beat of the music. Once relaxed, she claims that the mind is more capable of concentration. In contrast, physician and psychiatrist, Dr John Diamond conducted experiments leading to direct connections between music and muscle reaction. Diamond’s research shows that muscle weaken when subjected to music with harsh beats such as punk rock, hard rock and Hip Hop and may very well prevent clear and concise concentration.

What regions of the brain does music effect?

The researchers found that after 15 months the instrumental students performed much better in the near transfer domains, even though both groups of students performed equally well at “baseline”—before instruction began.
In addition to the battery of cognitive tests, the researchers performed brain scans on the children using diffusion tensor imaging, which can map the brain’s connective white matter. The scans revealed strengthened connections in musically relevant auditory and motor areas of the brain among those students who had received 15 months of training, compared with the nonmusic group. These changes correlated with the children’s behavioral improvements (more…)
Playing music effects the brain. The research shows relationship to mathematics and improvements on the connections in the brain.Posner’s search also includes brains network and attention and ability to focus on a a task.

Dr Dean Shibata, assistant professor of radiology at the University of Washington, has found that deaf people sense musical vibrations in the part of the brain other people use for hearing.
These musical vibrations are, he believes, likely to be “every bit as real” as actually hearing the sounds.
Dr Shibata told the 87th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, in Chicago, that deaf people and those with hearing may have similar experiences when they listen to music.
“These findings suggest that the experience deaf people have when ‘feeling’ music is similar to the experience other people have when hearing music” (more…)
The effects of music vibrations can still be processed in the same part of the brain a normal person would.Technology uses its ways for deaf people to enjoy and take advantage of music.
Study shows music will give brain activity and auditory cortex.
The researchers found that professional musicians showed greater responses to the tones than non-musicians. Amateurs were somewhere in between.
They then used brain imaging techniques to measure the size of Heschl’s gyrus and found it was larger in professional musicians.
They had 130% more grey matter in the part of the brain that makes sense of music compared with people who were not musical (more…)
Overall the brain will react to music, cognitive development, brain networks brain function and influences. The studies are proving the importance of music and ability of music are in our daily life.

Music and Memory

Do you sometime wish that you have better memory, whether you are learning a new language or just trying to remember a phone number? A popular opinion is that music can enhance or aid people’s memory. Researches show that music can helpboth short and long term memory, even in Alzheimer’s patients.
An ongoing study by a UK-based team from the University of Leeds involves inviting people to recount a memory that relates to the Beatles. The results show that “the recounted memories are almost always positive, that people remember particular episodes very vividly – sounds, smells and sights of the memory were often recounted”.
Study at University of Michigan found that a group of musically trained college-aged participants had better scores in long-term verbal memory compared to a similar group of non-musician controls, but this difference disappeared when the musicians were prevented from rehearsing.
Another ongoing study conducted by scientists from Boston College, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School found that “controlled training on attention-related tasks increased the effectiveness of the attention network and also improved far transfer domains. When children were given training sessions specifically designed to improve attention, not only did attention improve, but also generalized parts of intelligence related to fluid intelligence and IQ increased.”
A small study conducted by neurologist at Boston University shows that “Alzheimer’s patients who were put through a series of memory tests learned more lyrics when they were set to music rather than just spoken, while healthy elderly people remembered just as much and just as well with or without music”.

4 Responses to “How Does Music Affect the Brain?”

  1. 2013/05/07 at 07:25

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  2. 2013/06/30 at 00:02

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  3. 2013/08/10 at 12:26

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  4. 2014/06/05 at 19:29

    Today, I went to the beach front with my kids.
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