Music is the only instrument that makes us feel light regardless of what the situation is. It helps us to concentrate while studying or make us feel happy when we are down. It has always helped us to overcome many problems. There are so many choices to choose from depending on our mood. A number of online streaming applications like Spotify or youtube music make millions of dollars just by distributing music. Many of us are even addicted to music and even can’t sleep without listening to it. Music is of many kinds which I won’t discuss here but I would rather tell what benefits it does to us and how it changes us.
So here are a few effects that music produces on us:
“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” —Billy Joel
A 2014 study found that music was helpful for patients with fibromyalgia. The study showed that listening to relaxing music of the patient’s choice “reduced pain and increased functional mobility significantly.” Researchers believe that music eases pain because listening to it triggers opioids—the body’s natural pain relievers. In a 2013 study, people given the opioid blocking drug Naltrexone experienced less pleasure while listening to their favorite song, suggesting music activates the release of pain-relieving opioids.
Depending on the type of music you listen to, relaxing music can alleviate stress by lowering cortisol levels, which is the hormone released in response to stress.
A 2013 study demonstrates a link between music and decreased stress in pediatric emergency room patients. “In the trial with 42 children ages 3 to 11, University of Alberta researchers found that patients who listened to relaxing music while getting an IV inserted reported significantly less pain, and some demonstrated significantly less distress, compared with patients who did not listen to music,” according to the American Psychological Association.
Studies linking music to memory recall have increased since the early 20th century when the research first emerged. Listening to certain music can take your mind back decades in an instant. In a previous blog post we published, titled “Studies Prove Music Boosts Brain Activity in Alzheimer’s Patients,” we cited the documentary Alive Inside, which chronicled how music awakened patients suffering from memory loss. Neurologist Oliver Sacks said, “Music evokes emotion, and emotion can bring with it memory. … It brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can.”
A 2014 study was conducted on 89 patients with dementia, where the patient and caregivers were randomly assigned either a 10-week music listening coaching group, a 10-week singing coaching group, or regular care. The results showed that “compared with usual care, both singing and music listening improved mood, orientation, and remote episodic memory and to a lesser extent, also attention and executive function and general cognition. Singing also enhanced short-term and working memory and caregiver well-being, whereas music listening had a positive effect on the quality of life.”
Seizure, Brain Injury, or Stroke
It has been reported that the brains of patients with epilepsy respond differently to music than people who do not have epilepsy. “Persons with epilepsy synchronize before a seizure. However, in our study, patients with epilepsy synchronized to the music without having a seizure,” said Christine Charlton, of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Charlton explained that stress causes seizures to occur and added, “By listening to the music, many patients reported that they felt relaxed.”
Stroke patients who listened to music in the early stages after a stroke showed an improvement in recovery according to a 2008 study. Author of the study, Teppo Särkämö, suggested that patients start listening to music soon after the stroke, as many changes occur during the first weeks and months of recovery. “We found that three months after the stroke, verbal memory improved from the first week post-stroke by 60 percent in music listeners,” said Särkämö.
In 1973 a music-based treatment called Melodic Intonation Therapy was developed to help stroke survivors or people who suffer from aphasia to be able to communicate again. The purpose of the therapy is to convert singing into speech. According to Research and Hope, even though these patients aren’t able to speak, “they are often able to sing, sometimes with the same fluency and clarity they had before the onset of illness.”
Feeling depressed, gloomy, or inadequate? Soothing music can help you. Depression reduces brain activity and hampers the mind’s ability to plan and carry out tasks. Lack of the neurotransmitter Serotonin results in a depressed state of mind. Soothing musical notes help increase the Serotonin levels of the brain, thus alleviating mental depression. Natural musical notes are known to make the mind alert.
Music has a positive effect on the interpersonal skills of an individual. Lack of confidence and very little or no desire to learn is most often the reason behind a failure. It’s not always an inability. Students obtaining poor school grades do not necessarily lack intelligence. It’s their disinterest in the subjects or the lack of motivation that leads to poor academic performance. Music lessons during school can help the students fight their mental block. Music proves helpful in encouraging young children to venture in new fields. It increases their capacity to believe in themselves, that is, in boosting confidence.
The negative effect of music on the brain:
For music to have positive effects on the mind and brain, it should be complex enough to involve brain activity. It should be synchronous and generate sound waves that are in tune with the body’s internal rhythm. It should be played at a volume the listeners’ ears can accept and should have regular beats to have any good effects on the body and mind rhythm and functioning. Here are some of the negative effects of music.
Very loud music can disturb the symmetry between the right and left halves of the brain. Loud music results in a disturbed state of mind. Exposure to harsh or disruptive music at an early age can lead to learning disabilities and behavior problems in children.
According to a study by Dr. John Diamond, an Australian physician and psychiatrist, body muscles go weak when subjected to the stopped anapestic beat in hard rock music. He also says that shrill frequencies and irregular beats are harmful to the mind and body.
Disharmony in music has been shown to reduce retention levels of the brain and lead to aggression and hyperactivity.
Heavily repeating musical patterns can lead to feelings of anger and boredom.
Thus according to me, listening to music is good but making it an addiction is wrong. Making the correct choice of music is also very necessary for keeping up a good mood.