Our Brain consists of a hundred billion brain cells called neurons. These neurons interconnect with one another, like roads and bridges. From birth the world around us is influencing this network constantly, and one of the most powerful ways of effecting our brain is through music.
We all know how greatly music affects our feelings and energy levels! Without even thinking about it, we use music to create desired moods–to make us happy, to enjoy movement and dance, to energize, to bring back powerful memories, to help us relax and focus. Music is a powerful tool for our personal expression within our daily lives– it helps “set the scene” for many important experiences.
5 Benefits of music on the brain.
RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
We can usually pick if a piece of music is particularly happy or sad, but this isn’t just a subjective idea that comes from how it makes us feel. In fact, our brains actually respond differently to happy and sad music.
A study showed that after hearing a short piece of music, participants were more likely to interpret a neutral expression as happy or sad, to match the tone of the music they heard. This also happened with other facial expressions, but was most notable for those that were close to neutral.
What’s really interesting about how our emotions are affected by music is that there are two kind of emotions related to music: perceived emotions and felt emotions. So sometimes we can understand the emotions of a piece of music without actually feeling them, which explains why some of us find listening to sad music enjoyable, rather than depressing.
Unlike in real life situations, we don’t feel any real threat or danger when listening to music, so we can perceive the related emotions without truly feeling them—almost like vicarious emotion
Research on the effects of music during exercise has been done for years. In 1911, an American researcher, Leonard Ayres, found that cyclists pedalled faster while listening to music than they did in silence.
This happens because listening to music can drown out our brain’s cries of fatigue. As our body realizes we’re tired and wants to stop exercising, it sends signals to the brain to stop for a break. Listening to music competes for our brain’s attention, and can help us to override those signals of fatigue, though this is mostly beneficial for low- and moderate-intensity exercise. During high-intensity exercise, music isn’t as powerful at pulling our brain’s attention away from the pain of the workout.
Researchers in Taiwan, reviewed over 360 published studies on music therapy and concluded the data from these studies suggest cancer patients who routinely listen to music exhibit significantly fewer symptoms of depression, pain, fatigue and anxiety.
A research team from the Stanford University School of Medicine has gained valuable insight into how the brain sorts out the chaotic world around it.m
The research team showed that music engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention, making predictions and updating the event in memory. Peak brain activity occurred during a short period of silence between musical movements – when seemingly nothing was happening.
The team used music to help study the brain’s attempt to make sense of the flow of information coming in from the world around us generates, a process called event segmentation. The brain partitions information into meaningful chunks by extracting information about beginnings, endings and the boundaries between events.
It turns out that a moderate noise level is the sweet spot for creativity.
Even more than low noise levels, ambient noise apparently gets our creative juices flowing, and doesn’t put us off the way high levels of noise do. The way this works is that moderate noise levels increase processing difficulty which promotes abstract processing, leading to higher creativity. In other words, when we struggle (just enough) to process things as we normally would, we resort to more creative approaches.
In high noise levels, however, our creative thinking is impaired because we’re overwhelmed and struggle to process information efficiently. Though what is moderate for one person may be loud for someone else. So you need to find what is moderate for you.