The connection between the music and the brain is so evident that scientists have developed a field of study called ‘neuromusicology'. With brain imaging techniques it’s been concluded that music impacts every known part of the brain.
Music is a powerful force. There is no other art in the world that can have such a strong impact on the mind, body and soul. Throughout history, scientists and educators have been bragging about the beauty of rhythms, tempos, pitch and sounds. That is why, even today no one can compete with the magic of a serenade. Who can forget the iconic group serenade of ‘say a little prayer for you’ in the movie “My Best Friend’s Wedding’’? That’s because one song can be packed with a vast variety of expression and emotion. That is why a memory that is strongly associated with a song, gets stored in neural pathways that trigger a lot of positive memories.
What do the studies show?
Time and again research has shown that music can have a rather significant impact on the brain. In fact, it is said to trigger oxytocin, the ‘love hormone’ and dopamine, which is linked to feelings of pleasure. A happy kid makes a happy home.
The beats of music
A new report ‘Music on Minds’ from the Global Council on Brain Health highlights the positive effects music can have in our lives. Besides being a stressbuster, music also plays a great role in reducing anxiety and enhances mental well-being. Scientists say it’s because the impact of music always starts in the brain where the regions associated with memory and emotion get activated.
How does music change behaviour in children?
Music impacts brain development
Einstein learned to play the violin as a child, in a study of his brain, scientists found unusually strong connections because of the increase in white matter in the corpus callosum. Various neuroimaging techniques have shown that early music training can contribute to a change in the physical structure and function of the brain. It also causes an increase of blood flow to the left side of the brain. This has a positive impact on language processing ability.
The impact of early musical training
Another study revealed that in the sensory-motor area of the brain, there is an increase in grey matter that can be caused by early musical training. The effect of improved coordination helps inhibit response to conflicting events thereby enhancing emotional regulation. This makes a great change in behavior helping the child manage conflicting situations and frustration better.
The National Institute of Health Kennedy Centre Workshop on Music and the Brain produced research findings from a panel of scientists in 2018 that showed
Children are highly responsive to music from infancy
Contributes to Language development
The intangible benefits of this being
It improves other cognitive functions of children like
Improved attention span, executive functions and visual-spatial perception.
The current consensus among experts is that exposing children to music at an early age is highly beneficial. As the Mozart effect became popular, moms all over world, played music for their babies in the tummies. Parents are also encouraged to sing to their babies in their tummies. Here’s a recommended list:
The impact of music on emotional and social development
In Feb 2019, a study conducted by Florida International University’s Community Based Research Institute, proved that music impacts the 5cs of development in children. Children involved in the school’s music programs showed improved
Watch this video to see the deepest regions of the brain be affected by the neurobiological roots of music.
Builds social relationships
It plays a very important role in building communities and social relationships. People can get to form choirs, plan concerts, create music together or just have some fun. Music is always the easiest medium to bring people together. It fosters such a strong emotional connection that people who play or learn music together share a very strong bond. In a journal ‘Aging and Mental health’ in 2014, a study published showed the strong impact music has on dementia patients. Because of the strong connection music has on the memory, the patients began to feel a certain connection with others during their music therapy sessions.
Learning to play an instrument
Learning to play an instrument offers opportunities to acquire mastery and skill. Thereby improving confidence and self-esteem.
In general, the brains of musicians are more connected than the general population.
That is why musicians are known to have a:
Superior working memory
Dr Schneck said that music is a boost for brainpower. He highly recommends music lessons and practice sessions. This improves brain plasticity and enhanced neural-network development. This in turn improves learning and memory.
Neuroscientist Kiminobu Sugaya and world-renowned violinist Ayako Yonetani are two professors that have been exploring the impact of music on the brain since 2006. Their course ‘Music and the Brain’ explores the impact of music on behavior. Like other studies it shows that music is responsible for:
Reducing stress and pain
Improving cognitive and motor skills
Neurogenesis (which is the brain’s ability to produce neurons) Their course also shows that music has a positive impact on diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson.
Learning an instrument or taking up vocal classes also builds character. As students must invest long hours for learning and practice in order to build expertise and knowledge. A student who can sit for long hours can build improved concentration and memory. A student will also learn to be a better person by being more patient with oneself by accepting mistakes and working hard to correct them.
Learner Circle offers some interesting music programs for early learners. Please check out our website for more details.