Why do we live for live music? On the molecular level, research shows that listening to music improves our mental well-being and physical health.
How Music Can Be Used To Influence Different Mood Goals
Enjoyment goes far beyond the present moment, as it directly influences the outcome of our hormones and cognitive functioning. While research has suggested that people who play instruments are smarter, there are also plenty of benefits for the music enthusiasts.
Here is a list of 10 benefits to listening to music:
1. Music Increases Happiness
This might seem obvious, but the natural chemical reasoning is pretty incredible to think about. If you are ever in need of an emotional boost, let it be known that it only takes 15 minutes of listening to your favorite tunes to get a natural high. This is because your brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that leads to increased feelings of happiness, excitement, and joy, when you listen to music you like.
2. Music Improves Performance in Running
If that’s what you’re into… Scientists found that runners who listened to fast or slow motivational music ran faster than runners who listened to calm music (or ran without any music at all) in an 800-meter dash. The key to enhancing your running performance lies in the choice of music, that being something that inspires you to move forward.
3. Music Decreases Stress, While Increasing Overall Health
Music has a direct effect on our hormones. If you listen to music you enjoy, it decreases levels of the hormone cortisol in your body, counteracting the effects of chronic stress. Stress causes 60% of all illnesses and diseases, so lower levels of stress mean higher chances of overall well-being.
One study even showed that a group of people playing various percussion instruments and singing had boosted immune systems compared to the people who were passively listening; while both groups’ health was positively affected by music, the group playing instruments and/or singing had better results.
For maximum benefits on a stressful day, turn on some music and sing along. Don’t be shy to break out the air-guitar!
4. Music Improves Sleep
Over 30% of Americans suffer from insomnia. A study showed that listening to classical or relaxing music within an hour of going to bed significantly improves sleep, compared to listening to an audiobook or doing nothing before bed. Since we know music can directly influence our hormones, it only makes sense to throw on some Beethoven (or Dark Side of The Moon?) before bed when in need of a good night’s sleep.
5. Music Reduces Depression
Music has a direct effect on our hormones; it can even be considered a natural antidepressant. This is because certain tunes cause the release of serotonin and dopamine (neurotransmitters) in the brain that lead to increased feelings of happiness and well-being. It also releases norepinephrine, which is a hormone that invokes feelings of euphoria.
More than 350 million people suffer from depression around the world, and 90% of them also experience insomnia. The above research also found that symptoms of depression only decreased in the group that listened to classical or relaxing music before going to bed.
Another study demonstrated that certain types of music can be beneficial to patients with depressive symptoms. Interestingly, while classical and relaxing music increased positive moods, techno and heavy metal brought people down even more.
6. Music Helps You Eat Less
According to research, the combination of soft lighting and music leads people to consume less food (and enjoy it more). Music as the next trending diet? Sounds easy enough!
7. Music Elevates Your Mood While Driving
Who isn’t guilty of blasting Phish on the highway? A study found that listening to music positively influences your mood while driving, which obviously leads to safer behavior and less road rage. So be sure to turn up the “Reba” jams!
8. Music Strengthens Learning And Memory
Listening to music can also help you learn and recall information more efficiently, researchers say. Though it depends on the degree to which you like the music and whether or not you play an instrument. A study showed that musicians actually learned better with neutral music, but tested better with music that they liked; whereas non-musicians learned better with positive music but tested better with neutral music. Therefore, the degree of performance differentiates between learning and memory for musicians and non-musicians.
9. Music Increases Verbal Intelligence
A study showed that 90% of children between the ages of 4 and 6 had significantly increased verbal intelligence after only a month of taking music lessons, where they learned about rhythm, pitch, melody, and voice. The results suggest that the music training had a “transfer effect” that increased the children’s ability to comprehend words, and even more, explain their meaning.
Another study showed similar results in musically trained adult women and children that outperformed a group with no music training on verbal memory tests.
10. Music Raises IQ and Academic Performances
Research suggests that taking music lessons predetermines high academic performance and IQ scores in young children. The study surveyed a group of 6-year-olds who took keyboard or vocal lessons in small groups for 36 weeks. The results showed they had significantly larger increases in IQ and standardized educational test results over that time than children who took other extracurricular activities unrelated to music. The singing group showed the most improvement.
In addition to these 10 reasons, there are so many more, including decreases in pain thresholds, the relaxing nature it provides to patients before and after surgery, increasing memory pathways for patients with Alzheimer’s, the improvement of recovery time for patients who suffered a stroke, the ability to keep your brain healthy in old age, to name a few. Music really does serve as a therapy for all, whether as medicine in a hospital or a heartache on a rainy day.
Why We Make More Friends And Feel Less Pain At Concerts
Our scientific understanding of the effects music has on our brains is only starting to take shape; there’s still so much more to learn. So remember, “If you get confused, just listen to the music play!”
Importance of music in my life
March 11, 2010
Image Credit: Sandy H.Music is one of the most important and powerful things in my life. My life without melodies and harmonies would be totally empty. Listening to and playing different tunes helps me to de-stress, relax and it can also help to motivate me in trying times. I love listening to music while on my way to school, as I feel it helps me to prepare for the day that waits. I think it is like the memoirs to my life as it has been there throughout everything with me.
When I was younger, I didn’t have the great love for musical as I do now. I mainly listened to whatever was playing in the background or what my parents were listening to. I didn’t have much of a care for musical compositions. There was sometimes a little bit of pop music thrown in to the mix here and there, but that’s really all I liked back then. Whether I was in the car, the house, or anywhere else there was sure to be some Beatles, Buddy Holly, or the Dubliners constantly playing somewhere in the background. At the time I didn’t care for that genre of music much, but now as I’m older, I enjoy it as it allows me to reminisce on memories from times of my childhood. Once I hit my teenage years music became my life and gradually started to inhibit my soul.
I believe music has the ability to convey all sorts of emotion. Whether the emotion is joy and happiness or sadness and despair through rhythms, harmonies and the lyrics music shows it. The song “A little bit longer” by Nick Jonas is such an emotional and inspiring song that when I hear it, I always come close to tears, especially when I watch it being played live. The effect that music can have on our emotions is tremendous, as it can bring people to floods of tears or bursts of laughter.
The musical images that music and song are able to create are amazing. Music has the ability to transport me back in time just like a time machine. It lets me revisit lost and forgotten moments in life. Songs can paint a picture, for example in classical and country music where a story is being told. The music in classical music tells a story without lyrics which is an immensely powerful thing. I feel that this applies to the saying “music imitates life and life imitates music”.
Recently song writing has wandered its way into my life. I believe there is no better way to express myself than through song. After a bad day, it’s nice to be able to sit down and write about it. It can make all your problems just disappear and float away. Listening to other musical artists that I like gives me inspiration. My guitar teacher also points me in the right direction and gives me guidance as I need it. I love to just sit with my guitar and make up random lyrics about past experiences or what I’m going through at the moment.
I started learning how to play the guitar last year and within the past few months I have fallen completely and utterly in love with it. Once I start playing, I find it extremely hard to put the guitar down again. It’s very addictive and can also be distracting sometimes. It distracts me from my homework since my guitar sits right next to my desk. Playing guitar is one of the only things in my life in which I don’t feel pressurized to do well in. I think this is because I have a great teacher and she doesn’t push me to the music exams.
This past summer my grandma taught me how to play the piano. I had always heard stories about how my great grandfather, her father, was brilliant at the piano. He would sit at the piano for hours on end playing different well known songs as making up his own little tunes. He had taught my grandma how to play and I felt it was about time that I learnt. So when I was staying with my grandma and grandpa during the summer, I asked her to teach me. She was delighted to and now it’s something nice that we can both do together and bond over.
I believe music effects people in many different ways. To me music is more than just something to listen to or play, it’s something to feel. Music is extremely important in my life. I think it brings me closer to my friends and family. I also feel that it helps me to get through things. For example, I remember doing the twenty six kilometre gaisce hike and the whole way along the hike we sang songs. Music is an immensely powerful thing and has a huge place in my life right next to my heart.