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6 Surprising Ways Music Affects Our Brain

There is no doubt that music affects every one of us. It changes us and moves us in ways that science has yet to fully explain. It has the power to physiologically change our brains and alter our moods.

Music is enjoyable whether we’re listening to a happy song or not. It seems, too, that music, whether happy or sad, makes our brains release dopamine, one of humanity’s favorite neurotransmitters.

Dopamine is a feel-good chemical produced in the brain that makes our heart beats fast, our pupils dilate, and our body temperatures rise every time we hear music. These are the same chemical pathways activated by food, drugs, and money (getting money, that is — not losing it).

Indeed, music can bring about physiological changes in our body and brain. Check out some of the surprising ways music affects our brain, according to science.

Image credit: Lifehacker

1. Even 30 minutes of musical training can change the way your brain processes language

30 minutes! Imagine that! The subjects in a study spent only 30 minutes doing music exercises but that time was enough to alter the way their brains processed information relating to language.

The same study shows that, in jazz musicians, language and music share the same neural pathways. Apparently, musicians process all kinds of communication, whether spoken or musical, in the same regions of the brain.

Further experimentation reveals that even a 30-minute musical training session for non-musicians can bring about significant similarities with the brains of musicians. With regular training of an hour a week, non-musicians can quickly begin to reap many of the brain benefits of musicians.

So, are musicians better at learning languages? It seems the answer is yes. Because musicians’ ears are better at distinguishing subtle differences in sound, they are expected to be better at learning foreign languages.

In fact, another study reveals that children who receive musical training before the age of seven have a better chance of developing wider vocabularies, a better sense of grammar, and a higher verbal IQ.

Image credit: KidMONS

If you’re a musician, take up a second or a third language and test the results of these studies. It might even help you in your career. Though, if you’re looking for a more reliable way to become successful online, you can always buy social media Followers and Plays for your SoundCloud account.

If you’re trying to become more popular on SoundCloud, try strategically pairing your own ad campaign with bought Plays or Followers. You’re bound to expand your reach, increase your fans, and put yourself one step closer to success.

2. We don't forget the music we love — even in the face of dementia

Music heals. That is why it’s being used to treat anxiety, depression, and even cancer. You probably knew that already, but what you may not know is that music affects our memory and is now seen as a possible treatment for dementia or the loss of memory in old people.

The video below illustrates the amazing power of music as it lights up the eyes of an elderly man. Henry, the patient, usually barely recognizes his daughter, but the moment he hears the sound of music from his prime years he becomes alive. Henry has been living in a nursing home for 10 years and is affected by dementia.

3. Musical training in childhood delays age-related hearing decline

Musical training in childhood protects our brain from decay. A study in 2013 explains how learning to play an instrument before the age of 14 and continuously playing for at least a decade can help ward off the loss of hearing in later years.

Statistically speaking, we start to develop hearing loss between ages 30 – 40. Although the study cannot say for sure how many years musical training can push back age-related hearing loss, it’s clear that even if you’re no longer playing any instrument, you can still benefit from the training you received when you were young.

In a subsequent study this year, scientists have uncovered the exact reason why musical training can delay and offset hearing loss. It seems the fine movement needed to produce a sound on an instrument changes our brain's perception of sound, which is why speech interpretation and responses are faster in old people who had musical training as children.

4. Music makes male faces look more attractive

It seems music has the power to influence female behavior in choosing a partner, though most people no doubt already suspected this. The result of a study published this year shows that music can alter a woman's perception of attractiveness.

Also, the effect seems greater for more stimulating and highly complex music. The same effect was absent in male participants.

Now we know why the screaming fans of male musicians are usually female. If you’re a male musician, it looks like you have a higher chance of winning over female fans than male.

Image credit: thestar.com

5. Music changes our perception of touch

Another recent study showed that music really touches us — literally. It seems touch is perceived differently depending on what kind of music is playing. The sexier we think the music is, the more sensual we experience a touch and any contact we have while we're listening to it.

What this tells us from a neurological perspective is that the parts of the brain we use to process music are the same ones we use for touch and movement.

You'll probably find some use for this result, particularly if you like creating “sexy” music — or if you like listening to it.

Image credit: Lifehacker

If you’re trying to become more attractive on SoundCloud, there are a few different ways to do this. One great way is to buy SoundCloud Plays for your tracks, which will help them rank higher and get more attention. Strategies like these will help your organic marketing strategies become more effective, but they won’t do everything for you. You’ll still need to make good music.

A high view count will make your track popular on the platform, which in turn will attract more real listens from users on SoundCloud. Those people will attract even more attention, and so on, until you're rocking the charts.

6. Sleeping after learning new melodies enhances musical abilities

Learning a new melody and then going to sleep after is an effective way of improving your musical abilities, according to yet another study on how our brains learn and retain information, including motor skills.

Sleep is essential for learning new information, and it seems that it also helps musicians get better at their art, and at learning new melodies.

So if you want to get better at a fast rate and retain more of what you learn, practice in the evenings and get a good night's sleep. What you shouldn't do, however, is to practice two similar pieces one after the other.

The second result of that study showed that when you practice two melodies that are too similar, any improvement you gained in speed and accuracy during practice will diminish after sleep. Surprisingly, though, when two similar pieces are practiced one after the other, and then followed by the first melody again, the musician's skill on the first melody— and only on the first melody — will be enhanced after a good night's sleep.

There are certainly more mysteries to be probed about how sleep affects music and our brains, and much to learn about the best ways to practice and sleep. As of now, you’ll have to take whatever information you can get and then experiment yourself to see what works best for you. But this study and others like it can help you, as a musician, maximize your time and effort in learning new pieces.

Your Music Can Change Lives!

It seems musicians have the better brains, at least as far as the abilities that these studies looked at. Not to say your brain isn’t great too, if you’re not a musician — we’re sure it’s fantastic :-).

Hopefully, though, these studies will help you gain more confidence in your abilities knowing that your brain is “already there,” changing the lives of people, one track at a time. And if you’re not a musician, maybe this will inspire you to pick up a guitar, or sit down at the piano, or pick up a mic.

So, get up, show up, and keep moving forward. The future evolution of the brains of humanity might just depend on your music.

Image credit: Salon

Date: October 6, 2017 / Categories: Tips, / Author: Chell



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