By Mitch Rice
The brain is the organ that filters all the benefits of listening to music. The melody reaches it directly through the ears and impacts it in surprising ways.
There are multiple benefits of listening to music. Some musical stimuli have a more significant influence on specific aspects such as memory, cognitive function, and the development of particular skills. However, its primary objective, regardless of the rhythm, is to make us feel happy.
It happens because listening to music, just like eating generates pleasure by releasing dopamine in the brain, being this hormone that produces positive feelings. But why are there songs that make us sad? Listening to music helps with learning and concentration. When a student has trouble concentrating, they have the question, “Who can write my paper?”. They can listen to classical music to help him focus.
Considering that the brain has several structures responsible for decoding musical stimuli and stimulates the secretion of dopamine and other hormones and neurotransmitters, a melody can activate different places and end up relating it to a sad event that leads us to feel this way.
The Benefits of Listening to Music for the Brain
Music has been a part of humankind, almost along with its existence from the most ancient civilizations to the present day. One of the first concepts known about the benefits of listening to music was called the Mozart effect.
This theory was coined by the French physician Alfredo Tomatis and other researchers such as Frances H. Rauscher and Gordon Shaw. It is based on a series of studies in which it was proven that listening to Mozart’s music contributes to improving concentration capacity and performance in schools.
- Influences moods
As we explained at the beginning, musical impulses influence a person’s mood. Pythagoras himself used it to attenuate his students’ negative emotions, and Plato considered it a gymnasium for the brain.
Several investigations have revealed that music stimulates many parts of the brain, the encephalic system composed of structures such as the amygdala, the hypothalamus, the hippocampus, and the thalamus. This system, also known as the emotional brain, allows us to express all kinds of emotions.
It is because music also impacts the areas of the brain responsible for movement and primary emotions. It also minimizes symptoms of anxiety and stress, as it stimulates the secretion of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin, which make us feel happier.
- Stimulates memory
Music has the immense capacity to stimulate memory in many ways. Studies have shown that it can be an excellent treatment to keep the memory of people who have Alzheimer’s more active in degenerative diseases.
It is not only about listening to music but also about stimulating them to make music with instruments or to write lyrics. However, studies that seek to demonstrate a more significant impact continue to advance.
On the other hand, it has been proven that people who have dedicated part of their lives to music have a better short-term auditory memory and a more remarkable ability to manipulate short and medium-term information. These effects are related to the memory capacity required to play instruments.
Finally, music stimulates memory when listening to it leads us to evoke past moments. It is as if some songs give access to your archive of memories to bring them to the present. In this way, you stimulate that part of the brain where your memories are stored.
It was proven in a study in which it was concluded that this phenomenon applies when listening to music that you like and listening to music that your parents or grandparents listened to.
- Strengthens cognitive function
Music is fundamental for the cognitive development of human beings. Its influence can begin even during gestation. Specifically, a study revealed that music contributes to improving students’ academic performance on the school stage.
On the other hand, it has also been proven that music influences the creative process. A study identified that joyful music stimulates divergent thinking, that is, the one that drives us to generate new ideas.
- It allows you to learn new languages
It is widespread for people to listen to music in other languages, even if they do not know how to speak them. It does not prevent that. If you like the song, you try to sing it, leading your brain to concentrate on the lyrics to repeat them.
One study found that it is easier to learn a new language while singing than while trying to memorize phrases without melody while doing a test in the Hungarian language. This ability is related to the stimuli and brain activation that occurs.
Playing an instrument also stimulates the brain to generate various communication forms to a better understanding of foreign languages.
- Helps to fall asleep
As we mentioned before, music stimulates the secretion of certain hormones that make us feel happy and help relax the body and stabilize the heart rate. These qualities undoubtedly make it easier to fall asleep.
Research has identified the impact of music in treating sleep disorders related to patients with mental illness. It was found that music is good therapy, as it relaxes these patients.
Of course, if the objective is to fall asleep, it is best to avoid loud or cheerful music that stimulates us to stay awake. Although some treatments include silence in migraines, it is beneficial to listen to relaxing music.
- Stimulates physical performance
Who hasn’t listened to their most upbeat and motivating playlist while exercising? Indeed most of them. Well, some types of music stimulate physical performance.
It is believed that this occurs because the musical impulses minimize the feeling of fatigue and promote concentration on the movements being performed. Some studies have sought to determine the type of music that has the most significant effect on physical performance, finding that fast music stimulates greater power in some exercises, such as pedaling.
- Controls pain
Music therapy is known to treat acute and chronic pain. Musical impulses stimulate the brain to release hormones that generate a sense of well-being to minimize stress and anxiety levels in patients.
It has been established that music therapy is a low-cost alternative that can improve the quality of life of people experiencing pain due to diseases such as cancer and epilepsy.
Did you know all the benefits of listening to music?
Chances are you already knew about some of the benefits of listening to music for your brain, which impacts your mind and body. But indeed, with this article, you learned where they come from and why these stimuli occur.