How music affects your brain

Most of us listen to music, even though it might be different kinds of music. Some genres we love, some leave us indifferent  and some we hate. We can’t all like the same music. This blog post is designed to look into the effects of music on your brain and how different types of music will bring about different emotions and feelings.

Happy and sad music

Did you know that listening to happy or sad music can affect the way we see or interpret someone’s neutral face? A study shows that individuals who listen to a piece of music, either happy or sad, are likely to interpret a person’s expression in accordance with the music they are listening to (either happy or sad), rather than their actual expression – neutral.

It is important to remember that our emotions are also affected by music. In some cases we can understand the emotions of a piece of music without actually feeling them, these are called perceived emotions. A great example of this is when you enjoy listening to sad music, rather than finding it depressing.

Music can make you more creative

Happy and upbeat music is a source of creativity. But by upbeat I don’t necessarily mean loud. It’s more about an ambient noise which promotes processing that leads to more creativity. Extremely loud music, however, will block your creativity because you will struggle to process the information correctly.

Musical training benefits

Learning to play an instrument can  boost a number of very important skills, especially in children. These skills include language development, understanding and analysing visual information, identifying differences between patterns and shapes, as well as spatial intelligence.

 

Music helps us exercise

Imagine yourself in a studio ready to lift up your weights… and it is silent. You wouldn’t be as effective as someone in a studio with music. For example, research shows that cyclists pedaled faster when listening to music in comparison to cycling in silence. So what is the science behind it? When you are exercising, your body will send signals to your brain reminding it about fatigue. Music will distract your brain and drown out the signals of fatigue.

Music can reduce stress

While you are listening to music, your brain will produce certain chemicals, one of them being dopamine. Dopamine forms an important part of the pleasure-reward system. If you are playing music or listening to live music with other people, your brain releases a hormone called oxytocin which is said to help us trust and bond with others. The fact is that listening to music can improve your mood. And the added bonus, playing music or listening to it will decrease a stress hormone called cortisol, thereby reducing stress. So you are happy, more trusting and less stressed, all because of a great song!

In conclusion, music is good for you. It is good for your mood, you stress levels, your creativity and so much more. Learning how to play a musical instrument is excellent for your brain too. If you have have ever wanted to learn how to play an instrument, it’s never too late.