Effects of Music on the Brain

April 11, 2018

Music moves us, it allows us to travel through time, it gives us strength, and it brings us peace. It’s in every corner of the world world — in every sound, every rhythm, every voice. So what goes on in the brain when we listen to music? Well, for one, it activates both hemispheres in the brain and creates new connections between them.

The human brain consists of two hemispheres. The left is responsible for logic, reason, numbers, and language, while the right manages the more intuitive, imaginative, and creative functions.

Sound plays a role in brain development even before you’re born. Babies can recognize the sound of their mother’s voice before any other sound. Hearing is one of the first senses to develop in babies.

So what occurs in the brain when you listen to music? The right hemisphere is where our imagination and emotions fly, while the left analyzes the score and focuses on elements like musical notation, rhythm, and the meaning of the lyrics.

Why learning music is good for your brain

An infant’s brain plasticity is enormous. Music activates both sides of the brain and creates new connections between them. But it’s not just infants — adults can also enjoy these benefits. While changes are slower and less pronounced in the adult brain, the connections within it can still be enhanced.

boy listening to music

Here are some left hemisphere skills that learning music can improve:

  • Memory.
  • Fine motor skills, depending on the type of instrument you play.
  • Rhythm.
  • Coordination.

And the right:

  • Imagination.
  • Creativity.
  • Harmony.

Playing music can also greatly influence your emotions too, depending on which part of the brain is activated. And how can it help you in your social life? If you activate emotions that foster empathy, your brain will create new connections and activate new emotions with each new melody you hear.

“Music can change metabolic rates, increase or decrease blood pressure, affect energy levels and digestion either positively or negatively depending on the type of music used. Music can increase the secretion of endorphins by the brain and thus induce pleasure or relaxation.”

-Julius Portnoy-

Music and emotions

“Without music, life would be a mistake.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche-

It’s extraordinary how so many emotions can be activated just by hearing the sound of music. It can make you feel relaxed, excited, energized, or happy. So how can you take full advantage of all of its possibilities?

“It’s instrumental music — the beauty of it is it’s a great language. It bypasses logic. It just produces an emotional reaction inside you.”

-Yanni-

Every type of music can activate emotions. Music therapy is a perfect example of everything we’ve just explained. You can use music and everything it entails to your own benefit, as long as you pick the type that’s right for you.

girl with headphones on

Music therapy is an effective way to learn new coping strategies, get to know yourself and explore the emotions that play in the background of your mind but don’t usually consciously notice.

It can improve your relationships, the way your body moves, and your organizational skills. It gives you a different way to communicate and express yourself (with or without language) and find the freedom to explore a new world with your eyes closed.

All of this means music has the power to integrate the two sides of your brain, and most importantly, to make you happier and healthier. So go ahead, press play and let yourself feel whatever it makes you feel. Dare to discover yourself and learn to flow with music.