3 Ways Music Improves Brain Function:
The majority of us have our own particular styles of music that we find enjoyable. Also known as one of the greatest art forms, music is one of the greatest recreational stimulants that can enhance learning. In this article, you will discover 3 ways music improves brain function.
Listening to music regularly can stimulate the whole brain through diverse neural circuitry that stimulates better brain metabolism. Listening to enjoyable music improves brain function, and can often drive you to action! (1)
The brain is divided into the right and left hemispheres. The right brain generally is thought to understand and process information through artistic cognition. The left hemisphere generally is understood as the analytical side that processes mathematical and verbal input. The corpus callosum connects both hemispheres and controls the complicated communication between them.(2)
Music Connects Your Brain Hemispheres:
Music activates the array of neurons across the corpus collosum, creating a state of communicable harmony between the two hemispheres. The non-verbal melodies stimulate the right hemisphere while the singing stimulates the language center housed in our left brain.(3)
With the potential to alter an individual’s conscious state, music therapy can shift an individual’s perception of time and stimulates emotions and memories. Music boosts endorphin release which in turn lifts our spirits and triggers positive emotional responses and senses of euphoria.
Music Helps Boost Creative Energies:
Music boosts creative energies through alpha and theta waves. Influxes of alpha waves offer feelings of enhanced creativity, while theta waves are affiliated with learning, dreaming, and relaxing.
To boost creative energies, one should listen to the type of music that they enjoy. If one is seeking a boost in inspiration for language and mathematics, they should listen to music with melodic singing, while instrumental music without singing helps stimulate the visual and artistic senses. (4)
Music can also be utilized to balance the hemispheres of the brain. Someone who works as an accountant may find an increased level of peace and stability when listening to classical or other right brain specified music.
With that in mind, a heavily right brain centric individual may do well with listening to rock music, or more lyrically based music to boost their left brain. At this point it needs to be stated that all of this is subject to unique tendencies and subtleties of an individual. Additional research is reinforcing the relation of music to balance the brain’s hemispheres. (5)
Music Therapy and Your Health:
Classical music has been noted to calm and relax blood pressure. Research shows that listening to calm, gentle music for a few minutes each day has a tendency to stabilize blood pressure.
Those suffering from neurological conditions have seen improvements from music therapy. (6) This style of therapy stimulates unique regions of the brain and enhances the blood flow, revitalizing the brain’s metabolism. Therapy of this type was made popular by Dr. Oliver Sacks, and it was featured in the movie “Awakenings.”
Music Therapy and Alzheimer’s Disease:
Alzheimer’s disease is associated with damage to the temporal lobe. The temporal lobe processes and directs memories. Music helps stimulate memories, which can have a positive effect on Alzheimer’s disease. (7)
Research has found that listening to music can indirectly collect memory fragments that otherwise would remain fragmented. This can help to provide emotional comfort, as well as it improves brain function.
Music Therapy and Parkinson’s Disease:
Parkinson’s disease is a pathogenic process that destroys the basal ganglia. This region of the brain organizes thoughts and movements into action. With that in mind, strong, rhythmic musical beats stimulate motor control, movement and coordination, which in turn can help revitalize the basal ganglia, and can help pull together fragments of muscle memory.
A combination of this style of music with dance and other movement has shown to improve movement speed and coordination for those suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
Sources For This Article Include:
- Ridder HMO, Stige B, Qvale LG, Gold C. Individual music therapy for agitation in dementia: an exploratory randomized controlled trial. Aging & Mental Health. 2013;17(6):667-678.
- Steinhoff N, Heine AM, Vogl J, et al. A pilot study into the effects of music therapy on different areas of the brain of individuals with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome. Frontiers in Neuroscience. 2015;9:291.
- Tseng P-T, Chen Y-W, Lin P-Y, et al. Significant treatment effect of adjunct music therapy to standard treatment on the positive, negative, and mood symptoms of schizophrenic patients: a meta-analysis. BMC Psychiatry. 2016;16:16.
- Flaugnacco E, Lopez L, Terribili C, Montico M, Zoia S, Schön D. Music Training Increases Phonological Awareness and Reading Skills in Developmental Dyslexia: A Randomized Control Trial. Amitay S, ed. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(9):e0138715.
- Schiavio A, Altenmüller E. Exploring Music-Based Rehabilitation for Parkinsonism through Embodied Cognitive Science. Frontiers in Neurology. 2015;6:217.
- Hsu MH, Flowerdew R, Parker M, Fachner J, Odell-Miller H. Individual music therapy for managing neuropsychiatric symptoms for people with dementia and their carers: a cluster randomised controlled feasibility study. BMC Geriatrics. 2015;15:84.
- Johnson JK, Chang C-C, Brambati SM, et al. Music Recognition in Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration and Alzheimer Disease. Cognitive and behavioral neurology : official journal of the Society for Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology. 2011;24(2):74-84.
- Ashoori A, Eagleman DM, Jankovic J. Effects of Auditory Rhythm and Music on Gait Disturbances in Parkinson’s Disease. Frontiers in Neurology. 2015;6:234.