MUSIC AND ITS EFFECTS
ON OUR BODIES AND OUR BRAINS
You probably already know that music will affect your mood, but did you know, for sure, that it directly affects your brain.
As discussed in Homeostasis, when the natural orderly functioning of the body/mind is disturbed, we go into a dysfunctional state which we want to get out of as soon as possible, before we experience damage from it, ranging from stress to cancer to reduced immunity and definitely mood and our sense of well-being.
Dr. Neil Nedley, author of Depression - The Way Out, points out that classical music is therapeutic and healing while hard rock music is damaging to the frontal lobe functioning - the latter throws the harmony and rhythm of the body off so much that we lose our ability to think clearly and to focus. He calls it another "hit" on our mind and body that contributes to potential depression.
He recommends listening to two hours of classical music every two weeks, with at least one hour of it, cumulatively, being where you focus on it. And, of course, avoid hard rock as if your brain and life depended on it - for it does!
Classical music from the baroque period causes the heart beat and pulse rate to relax to the beat of the music. As the body becomes relaxed and alert, the mind is able to concentrate more easily. Furthermore, baroque music decreases blood pressure and enhances the ability to learn.
Music affects the amplitude and frequency of brain waves, which can be measured by an electro-encephalogram. Music also affects breathing rate and electrical resistance of the skin. It has been observed to cause the pupils to dilate, increase blood pressure, and increase the heart rate.
Music will affect memory. Positively if synchronous and negatively if dissynchronous.
Mozart's music and baroque music, with a 60 beats per minute beat pattern, activate the left and right brain. The simultaneous left and right brain action maximizes learning and retention of information. The information being studied activates the left brain while the music activates the right brain. Also, activities which engage both sides of the brain at the same time, such as playing an instrument or singing, causes the brain to be more capable of processing information. (So, anybody can sing to activate their brain's processing!)
Music can also be used to change a person's mood, and has been found to cause like physical responses in many people simultaneously. Music also has the ability to strengthen or weaken emotions from a particular event such as a funeral. See Inspiring Music and a list of which pieces energize, calm, inspire, etc.
The effects of music are both instant and long lasting, whether good or bad.
The key component of music that makes it beneficial is its order.
HARD ROCK IS HARD ON THE BODY AND BRAIN
According to a study by Dr. John Diamond, an Australian physician and psychiatrist, body muscles go weak when subjected to the stopped anapestic beat in hard rock music. He also says that shrill frequencies and irregular beats are harmful to the mind and body.
Disharmony in music has been shown to reduce retention levels of the brain and lead to aggression and hyperactivity.
Heavily repeating musical patterns can lead to feelings of anger and boredom.
Diamond found another effect of the anapestic beat, called it a "switching" of the brain. This switching occurs when the actual symmetry between both of the cerebral hemispheres is destroyed, causing alarm in the body along with lessened work performance, learning and behavior problems in children, and a "general malaise in adults."
Bob Larson, a Christian minister and former rock musician, remembers that in the 70's teens would bring raw eggs to a rock concert and put them on the front of the stage. The eggs would be hard boiled by the music before the end of the concert and could be eaten. Dr. Earl W. Flosdorf and Dr. Leslie A. Chambers showed that proteins in a liquid medium were coagulated when subjected to piercing high-pitched sounds. (Hmmm, wonder what it does to our bodies and brains?!)
Very loud music can disturb the symmetry between the right and left halves of the brain. Loud music results in a disturbed state of mind. Exposure to harsh or disruptive music at an early age can lead to learning disabilities and behavior problems in children.
"The human mind shuts down after three or four repetitions of a rhythm, or a melody, or a harmonic progression." Furthermore, excessive repetition causes people to release control of their thoughts.
ENTRAINMENT - TWO RHYTHMIC ENTITIES ALIGNING IN RHYTHM
It has been observed that people who focus their attention to a particular rhythmic stimulus long enough can experience a new level of awareness. It seems that their brain waves move along with the rhythm; the longer they focus on it, the brain waves become more synchronized with the rhythm. This synchronization between the brain and the rhythm gives a different state of arousal to the listener.
SOME MORE EFFECTS AND USES
The hypnotic effect of music on people has many benefits and applications in the medical field.
The music of the famous Classical figure Mozart, has also been found to improve certain parts of the brain focused on learning activities. This effect is more known as the Mozart Effect.
Though the effects of music have been found in a number of improvements in such ailments such as insomnia and other sleep disorders, depression etc, the benefits of music in cognitive development is more profound.
While meditation has been found to focus on that part of the brain that handles the positive emotions and feelings of a person, music, on the other hand, has been found to improve the cognition of people.
Persons afflicted with Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD can listen to fast rock music to speed-up the activity of the frontal cortex of the brain while a hyperactive child can slow-down when exposed to slow music.
Indian classical music has been found to have the strongest healing powers
Soothing music fights depression, relieves anxiety, improves learning abilities, increases concentraion leel, improves memory, increase creativity and problem solving skills, makes learning easier, speeds healing - not bad!
For music to have positive effects on the mind and brain, it should be complex enough to involve brain activity. It should be synchronous and generate sound waves that are in tune with the body's internal rhythm. It should be played at a volume the listeners' ears can accept and should have regular beats to have any good effects on the body and mind rhythm and functioning.
SOME GOOD CLASSICAL MUSIC
Or set up a classical music channel at pandora.com.