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Thu, 14 Nov 2019 14:24 GMT

Music, Not only Good for the Soul, But also the Brain

Media & Culture

Sariah Manning

Sat, 30 Mar 2019 10:00 GMT

For many of us, music plays an extensive role in our lives. It serves as a playlist for nearly every situation of our lives, from the trivial to the profound, from breakups to gym workouts, songs to get you up and going in the morning, road trips, even playlists to help you sit down and focus at work. I say this as I sit here listening to my "Safe for Work" playlist.

Some music artists have the ability to express our feelings so well, it's almost as if they were sitting there feeling everything we were feeling, and reading the pages of our diaries. I think about my teenage years and all those feelings of "angst," or feelings of heartbreak and love, lyrics to songs speaking right to my soul, and saying it better than I ever could. Music in a number of ways is the the fabric to our lives and the definition of society.  

The ancient Greek philosopher Plato got it about right when he said: "Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and everything."

Research into the effects of music on the brain is called neuromusicology, which explores how the nervous system reacts to music.

According to science, evidence shows that music activates every known part of the brain. Listening to and playing music can make you smarter, happier, healthier, and more productive at all stages of life.    

Music is creativity in its purest form. It helps improve your mind vigorously by making it more artistic. The rhythm, beat, flow of the music and lyrics can affect the form our dance takes on. What the dancer and the musician are trying to convey through the art comes together, so that it will tell a sad, heart-breaking story, that will play on your mind after the song is over.

Have you ever listened to a song and instantly been transported to another time or place? Seeing what the singer is trying to convey or feel the way they feel? Recently I listened to a song I had never heard before, by an artist that was not well-known, that Spotify had suggested to me, and I listened. Listening to this song brought about feelings and emotions as they sang lyrics about their home and homesickness. I could picture this place they were singing about and felt the sorrow they too were feeling for a place they no longer were in. Listening to music is not only a great way to tune people out, but it also, improves one's hearing. When you listen to the lyrics and the feelings they are trying to convey, you take notice of the music and the undertones.

Scrolling through Spotify you will find categories for almost anything, "Songs to sing in the car", " Walking like a badass", "Morning Wake Up" and more. But, within those categories is also "Mood". Spotify understands that music can affect your mod and vice versa. According to Medical News Today listening and playing music reduces chronic stress by lowering the stress hormone cortisol.

Music can make you feel more hopeful, powerful, and in control of your life. If you are going through hard times, listening to sad music is cathartic. It can help you get in touch with your emotions to help you heal. So, listening to all those angsty Emo songs as a teenager was actually good for me, contrary to my mother's remarks.

When you go to the gym they are playing loud, upbeat music. You don't hear singer-songwriters like Ray LaMontague singing with his soothing folk voice about his love. You hear Beyonce, "All the Single Ladies," and Katy Perry, "Roar". Why? Because music with a fast beat will influence you to run farther, bike longer, and work harder- often without realising it. Costas Karageorghis of London's Brunel University School of Sport and Education said in an article: "Ii can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15%."   

But if improved hearing, creativity, and endurance isn't enough, there is also one more. Music can naturally boost happiness. We know that already, we get up and put a feel-good playlist on, and get ready for work in the morning. Science has proved that music naturally boosts dopamine, the neurotransmitter that drives your brain's reward system. Listening to music can give you a hit of dopamine - resulting in feelings of well-being. 

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