The Power of Music on Brain Memory and Learning.
It has long been obvious that music affects people profoundly. It has been shown over and over again that one of the strongest effects of music on the brain is in the area of memory. Music can move the soul. Some music can calm us down, some music can make us wild! How does music affect us?
New research also reveals that music produces powerful effects on the brain, promoting cognitive development, verbal skills and emotional intelligence. Music is used in a variety of ways. Music has been used as therapy for seizures, to lower blood pressure, treat ADD children, treat mental illness, treat depression, aid in healing, treat stress and insomnia and premature infants.
To achieve positive effects of music on the brain, music must have certain attributes. It needs to be fairly complex to involve more of the brain in the activity and keep the person interested. New and different music is another factor that keeps the brain active and not bored.
Musicologist Julius Portnoy found that music can change metabolic rates, increase or decrease blood pressure, effect energy levels, and digestion, positively or negatively, depending on the type of music. Both hemispheres of the brain are involved in processing music.
Conversely music has also been documented to cause sickness. Studies have been done on plants where loud hard rock music, for instance, killed plants and soft classical music, make the plants grow faster. In the book, Elevator Music, by Joseph Lanza, it states that certain types of music over prolonged periods in certain conditions, were shown to cause seizures.
- Brain Waves: Research has shown that music with a strong beat can stimulate brainwaves to resonate in sync with the beat, with faster beats bringing sharper concentration and more alert thinking, and a slower tempo promoting a calm, meditative state.
Also, research has found that the change in brainwave activity levels that music can bring can also enable the brain to shift speeds more easily on its own as needed, which means that music can bring lasting benefits to your state of mind, even after youâ€™ve stopped listening.
- State of Mind: Music can also be used to bring a more positive state of mind, helping to keep depression and anxiety at bay. This can help prevent the stress response from wreaking havoc on the body, and can help keep creativity and optimism levels higher, bringing many other benefits.
Music and Brain Disease
Alzheimer’s patients have also been shown to benefit mentally from listening to music. Listening to music triggered certain memories to be recalled that had been otherwise forgotten. Parkinson’s patients also benefit from the effects of music on the brain. Motor skills seemed to improve when some patients were better able to walk while music was being played.
Music can Kick Drug Addiction
As it turns out, performing music can be relaxing and can create a distraction from withdrawal symptoms; songwriting can help patients confront impulse control and self-deception and allows an output for negative emotions; hence the entire songbook of Raffi.
Music directly affects chemicals called neurotransmitters which relay information in our head. Drugs work in a similar way, except they make your brain lazy and convince it to stop making its own chemicals
It has even been found that listening to music can help aid the detox stage of recovery from drug addiction, and if applied frequently could cut down on the number of pain-killers patients need. Indeed, it turns out GWAR may be just as helpful as Percocet.
The Power of Music on Memory and Learning
The power of music to affect memory is quite intriguing. 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.
According to The Center for New Discoveries in Learning, learning potential can be increased a minimum of five times by using this 60 beats per minute music. For example, the ancient Greeks sang their dramas because they understood how music could help them remember more easily ).
A renowned Bulgarian psychologist, Dr. George Lozanov, designed a way to teach foreign languages in a fraction of the normal learning time. Using his system, students could learn up to one half of the vocabulary and phrases for the whole school term (which amounts to almost 1,000 words or phrases) in one day.
Along with this, the average retention rate of his students was 92%. Dr. Lozanov’s system involved using certain classical music pieces from the baroque period which have around a 60 beats per minute pattern.
He has proven that foreign languages can be learned with 85-100% efficiency in only thirty days by using these baroque pieces. His students had a recall accuracy rate of almost 100% even after not reviewing the material for four years.
- Mueller, M. (1984). Right brain strategies for the full development of the individual through study of the arts, A Review of General Session II ACC-VACC Conference, Sacramento, Ca. February 21, 1984. San Francisco, City College of San Francisco.
- Northwestern University (2007, September 27). Music Training Linked To Enhanced Verbal Skills.
- Whitwell, D. (1977, June). Music learning through performance. A paper commissioned by Texas Music Educators Association.
- Ballam, Michael. Music and the Mind (Documentation Related to Message). pp 1-8.
- Jourdain, Robert. Music, the Brain and Ecstasy. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.,1997.
- Scarantino, Barbara Anne. Music Power Creative Living Through the Joys of Music. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1987.
- Storr, Anthony. Music and the Mind. New York: The Free Press, 1992.
- Weinberger, N.M. “Threads of Music in the Tapestry of Memory.” MuSICA Research Notes 4.1 (Spring 1997): 3pp. On-line. Internet. 13 November 1999. Available WWW: http://musica.ps.uci.edu/mrn/V4I1S97.html#threads.