Music Has a Wider Impact On Our Brains Than We Realize

Updated: Aug 7

Music is surely a big part of our daily lives. Even if we do not listen to it ourselves, we are constantly exposed to it while watching videos, when we go into a cafe, when we go to the gym. For it to be used in so many different areas of our life, it has to have some effect on us, right? Well it does. Research shows that people who listen to music and who create music have major advantages over those who do not. But why? How does music affect us?


Music has the power to affect us in so many ways. Research shows that it actually affects every part of the brain we so far know of. It can evoke past memories, make us move (nodding our heads, clapping our fingers), and make us feel different emotions. It can also affect us biologically: affecting our blood pressure, hormones and heart rate. It can even give us goosebumps.


Even our ancestors were using music. The oldest musical instrument is a 40,000-years-old bone flute that was used by neanderthals. This proves that even 40,000 years ago music was a big part of human lives. This does raise some questions because music and language are closely related but they are not used for the same purpose. Language helps us communicate our ideas, plans and thoughts with others. Whereas music does not have such a purpose. So why is music universal? Why can so many different people from so many different backgrounds come together and appreciate a piece of music without even having to understand it?


There have been many theories regarding these questions. Charles Darwin, for example, stated in his book titled ‘Descent of Man’: “It is probable that the progenitors of man, either the males or females or both sexes before acquiring the power of expressing mutual love in articulate speech, endeavored to charm each other with musical notes and rhythm.’’ So, he believed that music was related to finding a mate. Another theory was that music was used before children were able to speak as a form of communication. Even though in most people, music is processed on the right side of the brain and language is processed on the left side, some scientists have found a close relation between them. We can give music therapy as an example. In one case, music was used to help a patient to speak again. The patient was shot in the head and the left side of her brain was not functioning correctly, therefore she could not speak. But after some time and practice, she was able to sing the lyrics of a song. This shows that music and language do in fact have a correlation.


Speaking of music therapy, as Kathleen M. Howland, a certified music therapist and licensed speech language pathologist states, music is fun, inviting and familiar. So it is a great way for people to feel at ease and feel comfortable. This is why music is such a great source for therapy. People can feel the senses of comfort and motivation when they are at their most vulnerable states. Music is essential for not only changing the underlying neural mechanisms of the brain to cure certain diseases such as Parkinson's disease, but it also is a great way to motivate people and make them feel good when they face challenges.


Now, think once again: Would you ever go to a gym or pilates lesson where there was not any music? Well, most probably your answer is no. Most people find the motivation to do difficult tasks with music. Thus we understand, music has a huge impact on our bodies and minds. These effects are being used in medical areas to cure certain diseases, which gives people hope. Facing traumas, diseases and challenges are not easy, but, apparently, some of these can be improved with music.



Work Cited:

Darwin, C. Descent of Man. New York, NY: Rand McNally.


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Music and The Brain

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(https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/article/bone-flute-is-oldest-instrument--study-says#:~:text=The discovery pushes back humanity's musical roots.&text=A vulture-bone flute discovered,roots%2C a new study says).

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