The powerful health benefits of music on the brain cannot be overemphasized enough. Humans remain disconcerted without music due to our inherent desire to experience rhythm.
Human beings have inherent musicality. Walking, clapping, taping all come together to form some components of musicality.
There is this desire to grasp and derive pleasure from complex musical patterns that appear to be culturally universal. Musicality is demonstrated very early in the development of a human being- this is obvious whenever a child enjoys their lullaby.
Furthermore, it is universally understood that music possesses the ability to communicate feelings, states of minds, or empowering mental states that seem advantageous to our quality of life.
Music is like medicine to the soul. It purifies the soul of any hearer. Whether it’s banging Jazz or calming blues, it leaves a peculiar sensation in the memory of the listener. The lyrics don’t just filter into the listener’s ear, it perches on the listener’s soul and nests there.
Imagine! What would life have been like if there was no music in your earphone to distract you from an annoying gathering? Yeah, I know. It would be hell. The majority of us often use music as a means of distracting ourselves from unpleasant or stressful circumstances. For some, without their headphones, it may be impossible to get them to study or work.
Although people have different tastes for different genres of music, it still has the same overwhelming effects on the listener. Music transforms the mind of the listener. Sometimes, it feels as if the music has a soul of its own, taking the listener into its own world.
Which brings us to the point of this article: What are the powerful benefits of music?
Haven’t you ever wondered why hearing a particular track/song can surface special memories or make you feel happy, calm, or energized? Since the dawn of the human race, the benefits of music on the brain have led to the development of our species, whether through giving us strength and/or getting us out of bad moods, etc., music has allowed the opportunity for human beings to function better.
While the benefits of music on the human brain are not fully documented and understood yet, studies have shown that music plays a role in the release of a chemical in our brain called DOPAMINE that has positive effects on our moods.
Benefits Of Music On The Brain
Neuroscientists have only begun to discover that while we listen to music, it enhances the positive emotion that runs through our brain’s reward center, and by so doing stimulates dopamine hits that can make us feel good, or even exhilarated.
Listening to music also illuminates other areas of our brain. In fact, there is essentially no part of our brain center untouched—suggesting that music has more effects and potential in the human brain.
Further, more effects of music on the brain have only started to be understood as listening to music can reduce anxiety, depression, and even blood pressure.
Apart from reducing depression and anxiety, it’s been well documented that music plays a part in the overall quality of our sleep, some cognitive functions, concentration, and helps in warding off the effects of brain aging. Music is so good for our brain because it is one of the few things that stimulate the brain as a whole.
Because music is both systemic, mathematical, and structural, concentrating on relationships between one note and the next, it’s like having a brain workout. Although music’s lasting effects on the brain can also be noticed when we play fast-paced music which can increase heart rate and blood pressure, while the slower music tends to have the opposite effect.
We all can think of at least one song that causes an emotional stir in us when we hear it. For example, it may be a song played on your first date, at your wedding or that breakup song that reminds you of your past relationship.
From this background, we shall look into some of the benefits of music on the brain. Stay glued to this post, to find out how music can substitute existing remedies for some illnesses.
Here, we’ll categorize the benefits of music on the brain into three parts. (1) Physical benefits of music. (2) Emotional benefits of music. (3) Social benefits of music.
1. Reduces Pain And Anxiety
This is an emotional benefit of music on the brain. In order to distract themselves from the pain, people who listen to music while undergoing pain have reported to feeling better during and after the period of pain.
In particular, people who have undergone a surgical operation have reported to have felt better before and after the surgery. Patients who had access to music showed that they had less pain and more overall satisfaction compared to patients who did not listen to music as part of their care when recovering from surgery.
2. An Effective Stress Reliever
Another emotional benefit of music on the brain is that it’s an effective stress reliever, especially when we listen to ‘relaxing’ music (generally known to have slow tempo, low pitch, and no lyrics). ln healthy people and people undergoing medical procedures (e.g., surgical operation), these kinds of music/sounds appear to help decrease stress.
3. Triggers Repressed Memories
Certain songs have the power to affect and trigger some experiences and situations from our younger days – while some of those songs make us happy, others are somewhat painful that we rather forget. This is another emotional benefit of music on the brain for its power in restoring memory.
Also, music can trigger repressed memories. I believe you’ve found yourself in a situation whereby the lyrics of a particular song make you recall forgotten memories. It could be the memory of an event with a loved one or a lost one. Those memories might be pleasurable and sometimes it’s not.
4. Increases Adrenaline During Workout
One of the physical benefits of music in humans is that it increases adrenaline during workout. It’s a common sight for people to jog around with the headphones plugged to their ears, enjoying a track as they workout.
Music boosts aerobic exercise and improves overall performance. Notice how you want to do more push-ups and run farther distances when you have a headphone plugged to your ears? It’s music at work. Music gives that booster that makes you want to do more.
5. Music Is Therapeutic
The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) reports music therapy programs can be designed to achieve goals such as stress management, memory enhancement, and pain alleviation. It may sound shocking that music can help people cope with physical pain, but research has shown a strong correlation.
A recent review in the World Journal of Psychiatry Trusted Source found that music therapy can be an effective treatment for neurological-related mood disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, dementia, stroke, and multiple sclerosis.
6. Music Improves Cultural Cohesion
This is one of the social benefits of music. Think of a children’s song handed over the years, or of followers singing to the national anthem before a baseball game. Through music, communication with our social group can lead to a sense of belonging, which in turn can increase our sense of security and duty.
A common folk’s song signals solidarity to the group’s ideology. Who doesn’t feel better knowing that the next person likes a piece of music they like.
Humans have shown the tendency to associate with people who have the same taste in music as themselves. It is these assumed connections that help us in decision making when it comes to making friends, being comfortable around strangers, or having an instant bond.
Human beings value music influence so much that we think we would like someone based on their musical tastes.
7. Music Improves Empathy
Let me illustrate this social benefit of music with Michael Jackson’s “We are the World”. That song has generated millions of dollars that have been used for the purpose of charity. People are often moved when they listen not just to the lyrics of the song but also to the instrumentals.
Music enables us to show empathy to others. It strengthens and activates the various circuits of our brains tasked with helping us understand what others are thinking and feeling.
Music can help us connect with other people’s experiences. It can make us want to donate our last penny.
Empathy is universally categorized into two sections. Emotional empathy can be roughly defined as when someone is more prone to take part in the emotional load of other individuals, while cognitive empathy describes the possibility of recognizing and understanding others feelings without the need to verbalize a question.
So, people can be moved to show either emotional empathy or cognitive empathy after listening to a particular kind of music. Such is the power of music.
8. Music Can Improve Autism Patients
Studies have shown that children with autism spectrum disorder, who were receiving music therapy, improved in social responses, communication skills, and attention skills.
9. Music Soothes The Soul
Another emotional benefit of music is that it soothes and purifies the soul. An instance can be found in the function of lullabies. Notice how babies calm down when lullabies are sung?
Also, notice there are some songs you listen to when you are in pain and then, you feel relieved while the song is playing. Music can affect vital points of our mood and change it from bad to good.
Also, we see the wonders of singing a mere lullaby when the child begins to experience improved feeding habits and prolonged periods of quietness.
10. Music Increases Contact, Coordination, And Cooperation With Others
For a second, think about a world without music. A world where there’s no music to play in a party or a world where there’s no music to play at the club. It would be such a catastrophe, won’t it?
That’s right. We know music is fun, and our everyday lives depend on it. But the most important social benefit of music is the role music plays in strengthening and electrifying the human race with exciting melodies.
The social impact of music on our lives can’t be overemphasized, whether we listen to it alone or with an iPhone/iPad.
Musical concerts are one of the bedrock of social activities as it allows thousands of people to enjoy a shared activity. When we play and listen to music, it connects us with other people who share the same feelings with us, thereby creating a social buzz.
The only way to experience music was Live performances for much of human history — Until the 20th century, there were no recordings that allowed us to share music outside of the performance.
Music as a social construct had to involve interactions with individuals (e.g. coming together for a concert), as it provided the individual a network of physical and psychological security that might have helped our early ancestors to survive — and may still help us.
Playing music in a band or singing in a chorus definitely often requires teamwork, whether in preparation for the performance or during the performance.
Potentially, music enhances trust between persons and boosts one’s probability of future cooperation — it also impacts significant aspects in the progress of human development and social stability.
Although some people may be tone-deaf and not understand the basics of the tonic solfa, they nonetheless swing their bodies to the rhythm of excellent music.
Music has done much for humanity more than mere dialogue has done. The health benefits of music outlined here were from the observations of patients’ responses to their health conditions.
Undoubtedly, Music today has the potential to make us feel connected to the whole of humanity. The more we listen to music, the more connected we are to those around us.—literally and figuratively.
It also doesn’t hurt that music physically, socially, and emotionally makes us stronger. For one thing, humans feel deeply connected to one another, with the knowledge that as long as the sound of music still sounds, that life will be better.