Music’s effect on the human brain begins weeks before birth. Because the ability to hear is developed inside the womb, babies can hear sounds prior to exposure to the outside world. The soft timbre of a mother’s voice is one of the first recognizable noises a child hears. The child associates this sound with comfort, and will continue to remember and identify the mother’s voice as such after birth. This same concept may be applied to music. Any sort of musical sounds that a child is exposed to while in the womb— such as songs sung by the mother, musical instruments played by the mother, or music in the mother’s particular surrounding environment— may be remembered by the child
Music is found to affect the process of learning and thinking. If work is accompanied by quiet and soothing music, it helps the listener think, analyse and work faster in a more efficient manner. Music develops a positive attitude in the listeners and provides them with motivation. Surveys have shown that music brings about remarkable improvements in the academic skills of students, who are made to listen to certain kinds of music while studying or working in the lab. Listening to pleasant music, while doing a difficult task, can make it seem easier.
Your mood improves
Listening to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams can actually cheer you up. Research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology shows that listening to upbeat music improves mood, with one catch — it only works if you have the desire to be happy. Test subjects who listened to the upbeat music without feeling an urge to be happy did not see their moods change. “Listening to positive music may be an effective way to improve happiness, particularly when it is combined with an intention to become happier,” the study says. A separate study also showed that the “feel-good” neurochemical called dopamine is released when we listen to music.
De-stressing and healing
Just the right soothing music decreases stress, including lowering the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Music helps secrete endorphins that help in speeding the process of healing. It acts as an effective distraction from pain and suffering. While diverting one’s mind away from pain, it also helps bring about certain chemical processes in the brain that aid healing. After undergoing surgery, patients may be advised to undergo a music therapy. Listening to melodious, comforting music is sure to have a positive effect on the physical and mental well-being of patients.
You can exercise harder and longer.
Do you listen to music when you run? Then you know how effective it is at pushing you through that final mile. “Music has been shown to help us work harder and longer by increasing physical capacity and arousal and improving performance,” Jeanette Bicknell, PhD, tells Yahoo Health. Bicknell points to a study in the International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology that found that carefully selected music, like a workout playlist, can have performance-enhancing benefits during high-intensity exercise. Experts believe that music with a tempo of 180 beats per minute is best for running.
Listening to happy music can make us see people’s faces in a positive light – even if they’re wearing a blank facial expression. Ambient music increases abstract processes in the brain, which are responsible for creative thinking
Classical music is used for therapies
A study on stroke patients, published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, revealed that the brain’s ability to process images improved among subjects who listened to classical music.