For a lot of people in society today, music is a huge part of their lives. Music has touched cultures all over the world since early in human history. Native Africans and Americans both used music in the form of chanting for rituals and healing ceremonies. Ancient Greece music was used to ease stress, soothe pain, and help with sleeping patterns. Which brings us to the question: Can music really affect our health? Below are eight ways that music benefits everyone!
- Music reduces stress and anxiety.
It is a proven fact that music lowers stress levels, changes moods, and develops the brain. Listening to music causes your brain to release a feel good chemical called dopamine, which causes you to feel happy, excited, and joyful. Playing music can also make you a more compassionate person. People who make music together are developing emotional intelligence.
Music is also helpful in this regard to people who are ill. One study found that cancer patients who listened to music had a reduction in anxiety and improved moods from those who did not. Another study showed that surgery patients reacted more positively to music while healing then orally administered drugs.
Music can also be very relaxing to listen to for the daily stresses of life. Studies show that classical music works the best to help drop your blood pressure and relax.
- Music improves brain functions and memory.
Music affects 10 different areas of our brain when we listen or perform. The corpus callosum connects the right and left sides of the brain. The prefrontal cortex deals with expectations of the music and satisfaction of those expectations. The nucleus accumbens and amygdala react emotionally to the music. The sensory cortex provides feedback on the music. The auditory cortex helps you to listen and analyze the music. The hippocampus deals with memory of the music. The visual cortex helps to read the music and see the performers. And the cerebellum deals with movement when playing an instrument or tapping your foot to the beat.
Research has shown that musical training and listening throughout your life can help keep the brain healthy. Listening to music is a type of exercise for the brain, and it can give you mental sharpness and a better memory.
Many studies have been conducted on those who suffer with memory loss due to illness to see if music really is helpful. One study showed that patients with dementia that were given ten weeks of some kind of music coaching had improved moods, orientation, and memory, while the patients with no music did not.
- Music improves verbal, visual, motor, and reasoning skills.
Studies show that children who have studied a musical instrument for at least three years performed better in auditory abilities and fine motor skills. They also tested better on vocabulary and reasoning skills, which include analyzing information, such as identifying relationships and similarities and differences between shapes and patterns. One study looked at 4 to 6 year olds who had a month of musical training on rhythm, pitch, melody, voice, and basic musical concepts, and showed they had an advanced ability to understand words and define them.
Another study using 8 to 11 years olds found that those who were involved in music were developing higher IQ’s and their visual abilities were greater then those with no music.
Even one year olds are affected by music. These kids who participate with their parents in interactive music lessons have a greater ability to communicate, smile more, and show greater signs of sophisticated brain responses to music.
- Music improves you heart.
Studies show that music strengthens the heart and can improve the recovery time of patients suffering with heart disease. Listening to your favorite music releases endorphins in the brain that improve vascular health.
- Music improves sleep quality.
Research has shown that listening to music promotes better sleep patterns and creates more restful sleep. It can even be used as an effective treatment for insomnia.
- Music improves the immune system and reduces pain.
Music is capable of reduce the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that weakens the immune system. Some think music can even help to prevent disease. A study showed that students exposed to soothing music had greater levels of an antibody that fights against disease then students with no music exposure.
Music can also reduce pain. A study performed on fibromyalgia patients showed that patients who listened to music on a daily basis had significant pain reduction and fewer depressive symptoms then those who didn’t listen to music.
- Music improves creativity.
A moderate level of music while working can be a great way to bring on creativity. This noise level increases processing difficulty, which promotes abstract processing, which leads to higher creativity. When we struggle to process things as we normally would, we resort to more creative approaches.
- Music can predict your personality.
This is an interesting study that has ben done on young adults. It shows that a person’s top ten favorite songs provide accurate predictions on that person’s personality traits. The study used five personality traits: openness to experience, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability. Here are some of the results:
Fans of blues and jazz music have high self-esteem, are creative, outgoing, gentle, and at ease. Fans of classical music have high self-esteem, are creative and at ease, but are introverts. Fans of rap music are outgoing and have a high self-esteem. Opera fans have high self-esteem, are creative, and gentle. Fans of country music are hardworking and outgoing. Fans of rock music have low self-esteem, are creative, not hardworking, not outgoing, gentle and at ease. Fans of pop music have high self-esteem, are hardworking, outgoing, and gentle, but are not creative and not at ease.
As you can see, music should be an important part of your life if it is not already! Check out our website, www.omahaschoolofmusicanddance.com and find the right music class for you today!