Neurotransmitters, serotonin and endorphins – these are just some of the chemicals that are released by the brain to control our moods, thoughts and actions. But did you know that the release of these chemicals, in turn, can actually be influenced by music?!!! Sounds crazy, but many investigations and research projects have concluded that music can indeed influence us on a physical as well as mental level. So what does this mean?
“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
Well depending on whom you read, and subsequently choose to believe, music can promote physical development, aid physical repair, cure addictions, bring back lost memories and the list of claims goes on. Even restaurants took these findings and used music to increase throughput, and therefore directly impact their bottom line too. But increasing profitability is not the only use music can be put too. Music can affect your brain, and the five ways it can affect are as follows…
“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent”
Music is the leisure interest of a brain. And since it impacts the right side of the brain, it triggers the development of creativity. Creativity is not just a term but has a lot more to it. It is synonymous to mind’s eye, originality, deviating thoughts and intuition (all of which is in the brain) and so on. It is generally observed, that only two percent of people are gifted with natural creativity, other wise creativity requires methodical familiarity of a subject through environmental melodies. Music enhances the performance of the cognitive sphere. You should have seen how children love and enjoy creating music or playing with musical instruments. Similarly music establishes an aptitude in students to trust and be able to compete with themselves; to bring out their hidden talents and it also gives them with an inner control. Rhythm too plays a special role, and accelerates the brain centers that deal with judgment, analyzing and planning, thus enhancing one’s imaginative i.e. the creative skills.
Construction of perception
“Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.”
As weird as it may sound, but music does have the capacity to inspire our perception. Thing is that perception is not just a reflexive revelation of what is out there in the world, but it is a constructive process. This construction of perception involves the dynamic understanding, as well as arrangement across brain systems. The phenomenon of a musical beat demonstrates this fact. Even the cultures around the world have some form of music according to which people move in synchrony. Synchronizing and perception may seem simple abilities but brain systems of beat perception suggest a possibility of the motor organism in how we hear a beat. This remarkable ability is supported by our brain. And the treatments for certain motor disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, rhythmic music is known to help people initiate and coordinate movement. If you are thinking how music can do that, then the simple logic to it is that the music temporarily distracts us from viewing images in detail. And by doing so interferes with our perception for the passage of time. Since our brains have restricted contribution capability, especially when something else is using up that capacity, we’re less likely to think things the usual way.
Strikes the primal fear in your brain
“Music is an outburst of the soul.”
For this, let me give you an example. Suppose you see a friend across the road and to attract the attention of your friend you will shout out his name, right? Now imagine again, if you see your friend across the road but about to get hit by something! To warn him you will again shout at him. Now you have to shout out in both cases but in your head you know very well how different both situations of shouting out are. Human beings have this instinctive skill to connect fright and pleasure with different kinds of voices. And it is this skill that the horror movie makers exploit in their movies. Human beings have a very good sense of what kind of noise indicates a greeting and what kind of noise indicates horror. And that sense is being used against us in every scary movie we have ever seen.
The reason why horror movies scare us too much is not only the scary settings, dramatic build-up or the sudden disclosure of the bad guy coming out of nowhere… but it is the music. And this technique is not just limited to horror movies. Because music has the equal power to make you feel happy, romantic, sad or experience any other human emotion that you can think of.
“Music is the art of thinking with sounds.”
Music does strengthen our brains psychologically. It is very common how people prefer listening to music while working out. Especially as you may have seen aerobics trainers use popular and fast rhythm to motivate the trainees. You do not just get encouragement to exercise more by music, but it also makes your physical performance measurably better. People are able to lift heavier weights listening to music than by doing it in silence. They can also sprint or jog faster with music and reduce their oxygen intake. Similar to the time-perception effect we referenced above, one element is just plain old distraction. Even students who listen to music while preparing some important project, or while studying, believe it to make their work more entertaining and creative. Clearly, while you are listening to your favourite music you are thinking less about the amount of work your body is performing. It definitely makes your brain and its abilities stronger to be able to perform more.
Relaxes brain to feel less pain
“Music is a friend of labor for it lightens the task by refreshing the nerves and spirit of the worker.”
The magical affects of music on our brains do not just end there. Because music also has the sort of power to heal that makes one feel lesser pains. It is a strange but true fact that patients who listen to music after a surgery do not require as many sedatives or tranquillizers. And various reports suggest that patients who listen to some music have lower blood pressure. And if you think that it is not as impressive, let me tell you that many doctors have started using melodic music to reduce stress and depression in patients, even those who have had some sort of a brain surgery. In many cases, music facilitated patients to relax so much that many of them fell into a deep sleep. Many patients asserted as a joke that they were so well handled throughout the surgery, they suspected as if their doctors were listening to music while working on them. And this has happened! Many surgeons believe music improves their performance