Music is one of the most “affective” forces in our lives. How music affects us can be for good or for bad. What kind of music affects good and what kind affects bad. Let’s look at what science tells us.
Listening to music has many benefits. Some of these benefits include:
- Pain therapy
- Reducing blood pressure
- Helps your heart
- Speeds Post-Stroke Recovery
- Chronic headaches & migraine remedy
- Music boosts immunity
- It enhances intelligence, learning and IQ
- Music improves memory performance
- It improves concentration and performance
- Music improves body movement and coordination
- It helps in exercise
- Sleep quality is improved
- Music helps to lose weight
- Enhance blood vessel function
- Reduce stress
- Induce a meditative state
- Relieve symptoms of depression
- Elevate mood
- Helps performance in high pressure situations
- Reduce anxiety
- Relax patients before surgery
- Ease stress after surgery
- Help cancer patients manage stress and anxiety
- Music can help premature babies grow
These are some of the ways how music affects us. Let’s take a look at them.
Overall, music does have positive effects on pain management. It helps to reduce the feelings and stress that happen because of chronic pain and postoperative pain. Studies have shown that listening to music can reduce chronic pain caused by such conditions as osteoarthritis, disc problems and rheumatoid arthritis, by up to 21%.
Reducing blood pressure
By playing recordings of relaxing music every morning and evening, people with high blood pressure can train themselves to lower their blood pressure, and even keep it low.
According to research that was reported at the American Society of Hypertension meeting in New Orleans, listening to only 30 minutes of classical music every day could really reduce high blood pressure.
Helps your heart
Researchers did a test on young men and women, half of whom were trained musicians. The participants were given head phones and listened music, with random two-minute pauses. As the participants listened, the researchers monitored their breathing, heart rates and blood pressure. The participants had faster heart and breathing rates when they listened to lively music. When the music slowed down, their heart and breathing rates did too. Apparently, during the musical pauses, heart and breathing rates went back to normal. It did not seem to matter if the person liked the type of music or not. The tempo of the music had the biggest effect on relaxation.
Speeds Post-Stroke Recovery
When stroke patients in Finland listened to music for a couple of hours each day, verbal memory and attention span improved a lot compared to patients who received no musical healing, or who listened only to stories read out loud.
Chronic headaches & migraine remedy
Music has been shown to lessen the intensity, frequency, and duration of migraine headaches.
Music boosts immunity
Scientists say that a particular type of music can make a positive emotional experience, which leads to an increase of immune-boosting hormones. This helps add to a decrease in the factors responsible for illness. Listening to music or singing can also decrease levels of the stress-related hormone called cortisol. Higher levels of cortisol can lead to a decreased immune system.
Music enhances intelligence, learning and IQ
The idea that music makes you smarter has gotten a lot attention from scientists and the media. Listening to music or playing an instrument can actually make you learn more effectively and there is research to confirm this
Music improves concentration and attention
Easy listening music or relaxing music improves the length and strength of concentration in all age groups and ability levels. It’s not yet known what type of music is more effectively or what kind of musical tempo/rhythm is needed to help, but many studies have shown notable effects.
Background music may help make performance on cognitive tasks better. One older study found that listening to music allowed people taking tests to complete more questions in the time allowed, and get more answers right. Newer research shows that if music improves cognitive function or not depends on whether the music first improves a person’s emotional state.
Music improves body movement and coordination
Music lessens muscle tension and improves body movement and coordination. It can be very important in developing, maintaining and restoring physical functioning in the rehabilitation of persons with movement disorders.
Music can help exercise
Music can drown out our brain’s signals of fatigue. As our body realizes we’re tired and wants to stop exercising, it sends signals to the brain to stop for a break. Listening to music competes for our brain’s attention, and can help to block out those signals of fatigue, which can increase endurance. Music with a fast tempo can also provide motivation for exercise, and help you exercise faster
Improve sleep quality
Listening to classical music has been shown to successfully treat insomnia. This makes music a safe and cheap alternative to sleep-inducing medication.
Help people lose weight
One study found that playing soft music during a meal could help people slow down while eating and consume less food.
Enhance blood vessel function
The emotions patients feel while listening to music have a healthy effect on blood vessel function. It made study participants feel happier and it also caused increased blood flow in their blood vessels.
Listening to music can relieve stress by triggering biochemical stress reducers.
Induce a meditative state
Listening to slow music can alter brainwave speed, creating brainwave activity similar to when a person is meditating. Some research suggests that using rhythm (such as music) to induce these states can have a therapeutic effect, helping with migraines, PMS, and even behavioral issues.
Relieve symptoms of depression
Music can help someone that is feeling depressed lift their mood. Research shows that the kind of music matters: Classical and meditative sounds seem to be uplifting, while heavy metal and techno can actually make depressive symptoms worse.
A 2013 study found that music helped put people in a better mood and be more aware of their feelings. Study participants rated “arousal and mood regulation” and “self-awareness” as the two most important benefits of listening to music.
Help people perform better in high-pressure situations
One study found that basketball players that usually performed poorly under pressure during games were noticeably better during high-pressure free-throw shooting if they first listened to upbeat music.
Reduce anxiety as much as a massage
One study found that music’s effect on anxiety levels is similar to the effect of getting a massage.
Relax patients before surgery
Listening to music helps put surgery patients at ease as they wait for their operations.
Ease stress after surgery
Music is helpful pre-surgery, but it is just as beneficial after surgeries. Another study showed that listening to music while resting in bed after surgery helped relax patients and decrease their stress levels.
Help cancer patients manage stress and anxiety
Music has been shown to help cancer patients communicate their feelings. It helps manage stress, and ease physical pain and discomfort. It can also reduce anxiety and improve their quality of life.
Music can help premature babies grow
Two doctors at Tel Aviv University played half an hour of Mozart every day to premature babies, with amazing results. The babies who listened to the music grew much faster than those who weren’t listening to the music. The researchers still aren’t sure what is causing the effect. They think it has to do with the calming effects of classical music. It can help reduce stress and boost the immune systems of listeners even as young as babies.
Isn’t it amazing how music affects our everyday lives.
It is abundantly evident that music plays a vital role in people’s lives. We are learning more every day about how music affects us. It is evident that the kind of music listened to determines the effect. Too much of the music that we have forced upon us today is not the right kind that brings about healing and restoration. The music that fills the airwaves today is not the kind that aids in building a productive society.
Because music is so influential we should pay close attention to the kind of music that we build our society upon. Is it going to be for good or for bad. If we allow music which some call “primal” to be a controlling factor, then we should not expect a positive or cohesive atmosphere to pervade our society. Such has been the promotion of most of our entertainment systems.
They have promoted and bullied our children into thinking that this is the real music. Nothing could be further from the truth. Their music is primal and only appeals to the lowest level of our being. It is that part of all humans which we call the “sin nature”. To appeal to that nature is to wish destruction upon our next generation.
It is time to listen to reason and to science. They both point to music that lifts up and emphasizes the best in who we are.