Humans formed a deep connection to music, perhaps even before we could speak. Back in the caveman era, humans created music from primitive flutes made out of animal bones and created percussion with wood and stones.
As soon as you hear music, your feet start tapping, and your shoulders move to the rhythm. Maybe you even stand up to dance or sing along. This is the natural response that most people have to music. Music has a deep power to soothe and motivate us –no doubt. But what brings out this effect? And how? Why do some songs make us relaxed while others excite us and even bring us to tears with goosebumps down our arms?
Let’s take a look at how music affects the brain.
1. Releases “Feel-Good” Hormones
Music has a way of making us feel euphoric, lifting our mood, and transporting us to a different place. Research has shown that listening to music triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. A study in the Nature Neuroscience Journal found that listening to music that gives us chills can lead to the release of endorphins, which also contribute to a feeling of euphoria.
2. Enhances Brain Functioning
Music has the power to improve brain function in a number of ways. Research has shown that regular music listening and participation can enhance cognitive abilities such as memory, attention, and language skills.
One study published in the journal Psychology of Music found that musicians have better working memory and cognitive flexibility compared to non-musicians. Another study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that listening to music with a faster tempo can improve cognitive performance, particularly in tasks requiring attention and processing speed.
Music can also enhance language processing skills. A study by the University of Helsinki found that children who received music lessons had improved phonological skills, which are important for language development. Additionally, research has shown that music therapy can be effective in improving communication skills in individuals with conditions such as autism and stroke.
3. Improves Your Mood!
Music can also have a positive impact on mood and emotional well-being, which in turn can improve cognitive function. A study featured in the journal Geriatric Nursing found that listening to uplifting music can lead to improved mood and increased cognitive function, particularly in older adults.
Overall, the benefits of music on brain function are vast and varied, and there is still much to learn about its potential therapeutic applications. Whether you are a music lover or a musician, keep listening to the cords that enhance your brain functioning!