I’m sure you’ve heard it before: the health benefits of listening to music are many. But… what’s so certain about this statement, is it equally beneficial in all areas of your life? We’ll tell you all about it below:
The benefits of music: do they really exist?
Let’s start with what is a reality: music is part of our lives. Inevitably, whether we like it or not, everyday life forces us to listen to music. When we go to the supermarket, when we go shopping for clothes, when we get into a taxi, a bus or maybe you’ve even stepped into a lift with piped music. Of course, the list could go on: in your yoga classes, in the gym, in TV ads…
Without even knowing it, that music is affecting you in one way or another, whether it’s your mood or even your health. Surely you know that supermarkets “play” with the kind of music they put in their stores depending on their interests (as we will tell you soon in another article). But to give you an advance, the reason is that they know that there are numerous studies that show that the type of music we listen to can make us buy more or less, among many other things.
So let’s go to the more technical part, how does music affect our brain? Technically, the emotions produced by music are produced by complex neural mechanisms. Music releases dopamine into the brain, a stimulant of the limbic system, which manages physiological responses to emotional stimuli.
In the field of health, many doctors have long used music as a complementary element to conventional therapies. It has been proven that music can improve, maintain or recover cognitive, physical, emotional and social functioning, even slowing down the progress of different medical conditions.
Let’s now look at the benefits of listening to music in different fields.
The benefits of music for children
The benefits of music in early childhood education are very much taken into account today. The reason is that there are many studies that associate the positive aspects of listening to music during this stage of our lives.
Music, without a doubt, is a fundamental tool in the development of children. That is why teachers use it as a vehicle to transmit many of the knowledge they teach in their classes. It has been proven that music in early childhood education helps to retain information while the child has fun playing and learning.
Some of the benefits of music in early childhood education are:
- Increased memory, attention and concentration: by focusing on the lyrics of songs, children increase their skills in these areas while having fun.
- Stimulation of creativity: knowing how to recognize rhythm patterns in a melody acts in the creative and motivating region of the brain, which helps to develop their imagination.
- Improved fluency and expressiveness: learning to repeat and sing the lyrics of a song is easier when it is accompanied by a melody. This helps to create a wider and more fluid form of expression.
- Easier problem solving: it is known that knowing how to perceive rhythmic patterns increases children’s reasoning when solving complex mathematical and logical problems.
- Expand vocabulary: song lyrics, especially at early ages, help greatly to expand the child’s language. This resource is widely used in language teaching.
As you can see, these are just a few examples of how beneficial music is for children. Their brain development will benefit in one way or another, and that will be reflected in their adulthood.
The benefits of music for babies
Music is so important to a child that mothers are encouraged to listen to music during pregnancy. At 22 days of gestation the development of the auditory system begins, and although it ends at 25 weeks, it is one of the senses that previously develops in the fetus.
This produces a stimulation of the heart rate in the fetus and the production of endorphins in the mother, chemical substances that serve the function of stimulating the areas of the brain where pleasant emotions are generated. The music acts by triggering vibratory resonances that activate millions of brain cells that favor the development of the brain. What better and easier way to help the growth of the baby?
Researcher Michele Clements concluded that baroque music, like that of Vivaldi and Mozart, calms and relaxes babies. In addition, their rhythms and melodies stimulate creativity and areas of the brain that specialize in promoting motivation.
In any case, regardless of the style of music, babies feel their mother’s heartbeat and breath, so any music that provides peace of mind and well-being to the mother will be beneficial to the child. The benefits of listening to music during pregnancy are therefore obvious.
Classical music health benefits
Several studies were carried out to clarify how certain were the benefits of listening to classical music for health.
For example, according to a study published in The Journal of Surgery Cardiothoraic, a patient who listens to music (or opera) after a heart transplant may even determine the success or failure of the operation. It may seem very drastic, but they are based on results that show that music reduces anxiety, pain and nausea. They even claim that the benefits of classical music could even have an effect on the parasympathetic nervous system (a part of the nervous system that controls unconscious functions of our body, such as digestion).
The benefits of classical music in the treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Tourette syndrome and some forms of autism have also been demonstrated.
Of course, as you may have experienced yourself on occasion, especially if you have attended a live recital, classical music affects our mood. Not only can it create these feelings of joy or sadness, but it can cause a series of sensations that affect your brain and help reduce pain and anxiety.
Studies already indicate that listening to soft classical music twice a week may help reduce stress and blood pressure.
On the other hand, if you suffer from insomnia, you may be interested to know that according to a study by the University of Toronto among the benefits of classical music is the reduction of insomnia. They say that the rhythms and tones of this style of music create a meditative mood and slow brain waves that help you fall asleep earlier.
The mental health benefits of music
Everything could be summed up here, as it is the mind that has the power to channel practically all the benefits that music brings to our health.
Music, in general, improves moods, but focusing on mental health, we will talk about the positive effects that music has on people with depression. Obviously, for one person to get better, not all music is worth it. If we stop to think for a second, we will surely think of some song that we identify with sadness, or some sad moment in our lives. Avoiding from this type of melodies, as well as others such as heavy music or techno, which have been shown to cause just the opposite effect, it has been proven that listening to music is good for fighting this type of mental illness.
Research proved that patients with depression treated with music therapy (unlike those who were not treated) recovered at a much faster rate.
On the other hand, just as we commented that music can help after surgery, it can also help you moments earlier. It seems proven that people who listen to music before undergoing surgery come to feel less pain and anxiety than those who do not. It doesn’t cost anything to try, does it?
The benefits of listening to music in the office
Did you know that music can help you in your working hours? The benefits of listening to music in the office are not few. According to a study at Stanford University‘s Neuroscience Laboratory, music involves the areas of the brain that govern attention span, predictive abilities, and memory retention. Key abilities to perform a worker’s daily tasks.
But not just any music serves the same purpose:
- If you are looking for a high state of concentration, opt for quiet, melodic music.
- If your tasks are going to be mechanical and repetitive, your best option will be music with rhythm and vocal presence, as it will help you stay awake.
In general, overactive music is discouraged, as it can distract, excite or even twitch your nervous system, which could negatively influence the outcome of your work. What type of music do you usually choose? Surely you will be able to choose the music with which you get the best benefits in your work.
Let the music bring out your best version
As you can see, music in general is beneficial for our organism, our health and our mood. We hope that we have given you the keys to know how to get the most out of it in each field and that it helps you to be happier in your daily life.
We declare ourselves lovers of good music, so when we get home, the first thing we do is connect our favourite songs to our RÖTH & MYERS speakers. And you, do you also feel the Sound with Soul?