What does music do for your mind?

  • Music optimises learning
  • Helps you retain information better
  • Helps severely brain-injured patients recall personal memories & respond to therapies
  • Helps with Alzheimer’s recall and sharing of memories
  • Helps promote rehabilitation for people with physical difficulties
  • And that musical training, particularly for children under seven, benefits brain function for a lifetime. Read more

“Music’s the medicine of the mind.” – John A. Logan

How does music help?

Listening to music activates the whole brain, especially the areas of the brain that process sounds as well as the wide networks responsible for motor actions, emotions, and creativity.

“Music is also an effective, almost magical medium for learning and retaining information, [because] it activates three different centers of the brain at the same time: language, hearing, and rhythmic motor control. By inducing emotions, it also creates a heightened condition of awareness and mental acuity. Words paired with music are far easier to retain. As an example, most of us can remember the words and meanings of songs we haven’t heard for years. Isn’t it interesting how you still remember your ABCs?”- Don McMannis

A new branch of research, Neuromusicology, explores how our nervous systems react to music.

Different beats for ….

Neuroscientists have found that music affects us differently at different times:

  • Music with lyrics helps when engaged in repetitive or mundane work but is distracting when studying.
  • Upbeat music, including songs with positive lyrics, can provide the energy boost needed to get your brain primed for learning.
  • Concentration and study need silence; if background noises intrude, listening to music with nature sounds helps.
  • Heavy metal music (with an irregular, fast, distinct rhythm played at a very high volume) can lead to stress and, for heart surgery patients, could be life-threatening. It’s fine for situations involving energetic or competitive behaviour, though.
    Slow, steady rhythms, such as drumbeats, helps Parkinson’s sufferers move more steadily.
  • Rhythmic cues can also help patients with a stroke or other neurological impairments.
  • A song that you have not heard for a long time will evoke strong specific memories of a time and place from your past.

The music message:

Whatever your age, it is never too late to make yourself smarter, happier, healthier and more productive by listening to and playing music!

For a more in-depth look at this topic, see:
The Benefits of Learning and Playing Music

Jazz Brains Are Different!

 


Thank you to Lynette Mowlem, Researcher for Memory Foundation.


Do you have a comment or story about the power of music? Or other helpful hints you’d like to share with readers? Please leave your message below.