Neuromusicology: the study which explores how the nervous system reacts to those catchy tunes you were playing this morning. Yes, it has such a potent effect on us that there is a whole branch of science dedicated to the human body and music. In fact musicians have better-connected, more cognitively flexible, and overall larger brains. Not only is there a significant effect of music on the function of our minds, but our mood is also directly correlated with what we are listening to. For example, sad music has the ability to be therapeutic in a variety of ways. Music’s impact on listeners is intriguing to learn, and it may just make you yearn for a listen to your favorite song.
Stress is one of the most prevalent things found among teens all across the globe. Stress of homework, sports, and eventually obtaining a part-time job may become evident on students, some more than others. A powerful response to all of this may actually be turning on your favorite playlist and just letting the tunes take over. According to Dr. Mona Lisa Chanda, listening to and playing music reduces chronic stress by lowering levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone.
Not only is music a catalyst for stress elimination, but there are also proven cognitive benefits whether you’re playing it or listening to it. Some may consider background music, music that is played while the listener’s primary attention is focused on another task or activity, a major distraction from the task at hand. However, according to Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, studies have shown that background music has improved listeners memory skills, IQ scores, processing speed, reading, arithmetic skills, and even second-language learning. One intriguing study, the Mozart Effect, refers to a set of research results that indicated that by listening to Mozart’s music, you receive a short term boost of brainpower. Essentially, you become more intelligent just by sitting back and listening. On the contrary, some studies showed that background music was indeed a major interference with some students, and limited cognitive skills. So if you’re looking for a mental boost, consider choosing instrumental tracks over tracks with lyrics as they may become a distraction.
Music and mood are closely interrelated. Our brains are so complex that we can feel what is being communicated to us. If you feel sad, how often do you turn on a sad song? This strange strategy of listening to sad music while feeling down is in fact quite pleasuring and may even bring comfort among certain individuals. But sad music isn’t the only type of music with benefits, as upbeat and joyful music tends to produce the outcome of an overall happier and more enjoyable life. Millions of people use music as a way to feel energized. When waking up in the morning music is usually a big part of a teens morning routine. It is already hard enough for us to get out of bed early; music can make that easier.
Music goes beyond just some words jumbled together. The vast array of instruments, vocals, and feelings that are put into a piece of music have an evident effective on us; a positive one. It portrays emotion that can affect how you’re feeling. It’s an escape from reality that makes us happier and healthier individuals. Next time you are overwhelmed with stress, emptiness, or just need a kick start, music is the perfect way to go.