For the majority of people, there is a power to music which can make them happy, sad, tearful, joyful or simply nostalgic.
However, in addition to stirring the soul, recent studies have indicated that there are psychological and cognitive benefits to listening to and enjoying music:
As has already been mentioned, music has the power to stir the soul and awaken senses which other stimuli is unable to. It has been proven that the reason for this is because certain music types, pieces, songs or voices can directly affect an individual person. The study in which this was demonstrated showed certain subjects showed physiological changes in the brain in response to certain music types. The effects, as shown in brain scans showed the areas of the brain responsible for vision, memory and thought processing physically lighting up in response to certain music types.
As a result of these involuntary reactions, which the brain processes without being told to, many patients in comatose and permanent vegetative states are now recommended to listen to music, especially genres and specific sounds they enjoyed prior to illness as a way of provoking a reaction and in some cases, lifting the patient from their state altogether.
Many people use many Benefits of Music as a way of relaxing, helping them process the end of a difficult day or as a way of staying awake and alert during certain tasks (such as long car journeys). Most people are also aware that musical taste and the particular types of music which help them through particular tasks vary from person to person. The reason for this is the production of dopamine, which the brain does automatically when pleasured or triggered by a pleasant sensation. Thus enjoying a favourite piece or type of music is literally the brain telling the person to see here and carry on!
In addition to making the person listening feel better about certain moods, it has been found that certain music types can actually improve performance during tasks. In a study carried out the Brunel University in West London, subjects were given a number of physical tests (such as running) to do as they listened to certain types of music. Those subjects with “dance beats” which might have been created by a Korg Synthesiser were found to have improved performance of up to 15% in comparison to their counterparts without the accompaniment. In addition, those subjects were seen to have better speed over long periods of time. The study concluded that not only could music improve performance but also energy efficiency and longevity during exercise.
Music is now recognized as being part of the treatment for a number of mental health conditions. In addition to being an excellent outlet for communication processes, studies and specialists have found that the actual music, tone and texture can be considered a therapy all in itself. In addition, the use of music as part of therapy for physical conditions such as cancer, heart disease and various respiratory conditions is currently being trialled to initial success. For more information please click here