It turns out that music is good for you. Listening to it helps with anxiety, singing a language helps you learn it faster and playing an instrument completely opens up your mind. Imagine your brain working on all new cylinders — that’s your brain on music.
In an article by CNN journalist Elizabeth Landau titled “This is your brain on music,” Laudau wrote that, in one study reviewed by Daniel Levitin, a prominent psychologist who studies neuroscience of music at McGill University in Montreal, “researchers studied patients who were about to undergo surgery. Participants were randomly assigned to either listen to music or take anti-anxiety drugs.”
“The results,” Landau concluded, were that “patients who listened to music had less anxiety […] than people who took drugs.”
That’s not all, music lovers. Bahar Gholipour, staff writer for Live Science, wrote “4 Unusual Ways Music Can Tune Up the Brain.”
Gholipour wrote that music can unearth lost memories, and therefore can be used as a treatment for patients with memory problems. Music can train people to better detect emotion in people’s voices. A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2013 found that people who took music lessons as children had long-lasting brain effects when it came to detecting sounds in noisy environments.
Last but not least, Gholipour wrote, “Scientists recently found that when learning a new language, singing the phrases can help people learn the language better, compared with simply reading those phrases.”
Boston news writer George Hicks wrote “How Playing Music Affects The Developing Brain,” and although he wrote that evidence shows that Mozart doesn’t make babies smarter, music can do so much more for the human brain.
Hicks quotes Ani Patel, an associate professor of psychology at Tufts University: “‘On the other hand,” Patel says, “there’s now a growing body of work that suggests that actually learning to play a musical instrument does have impacts on other abilities.’ These include speech perception […] and the ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously.”
There is even a form of therapy conducted with music. The American Music Therapy Association defined music therapy as “the clinical and evidence-based use of musical interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.”
The AMTA website stated that music therapy can be designed to “promote wellness, manage stress, alleviate pain, express feelings, enhance memory, improve communication [and] promote physical rehabilitation.”
Jonathan Himes, associate professor of English, who is known to wander the halls loudly singing classic rock, agreed that “music is definitely good for the soul.”
“Look at how David’s harp songs soothed the bedeviled soul of King Saul,” Himes said. “I use music (mostly my raucous renditions of classic rock songs) to tame my unruly thoughts and quiet them down.”
“Musically oriented people give the world a precious gift,” Himes added. “I won’t say they are smarter or better than others, but they do have a special gift, and although it’s not one I am especially blessed with, it is one I can admire and derive rapturous delight from without much envy creeping into the equation.”
Junior Natalie Smith agreed that music is helpful. “I can’t think without music,” she said, mentioning that she listens to it while she does homework.
It seems that the overall consensus is that music is not only beneficial for the mind, but a pleasant experience for everyone involved.