Clearly, music affects you in some way otherwise your toes wouldn’t be tapping and your hips wouldn’t be swaying when it plays but what about the brain and how it develops?
Studies show thatbrain development in children changes as they learn music more than when they listen to it. For adults looking to improve brain plasticity, listening to music might be the key. Either way, music supports brain health at any age.
The benefits of music on the brain start early. Multiple studies show that learning music and playing an instrument has a significant impact on a child’s brain development.
A group of scientists from the Brain and Creativity Institue at USC compared learning music to other childhood programs like playing sports or not getting involved in extracurricular activities, at all.
They found that children taking music classes mature faster, possibly due to an increase in neuroplasticity of the brain. The music stimulates the auditory system, improving sound processing and enhancing brain development.
Expanding the Brain Network
The brain also works to anticipate the music. What will the next tone be, for example? How about the next section of the lyrics? This anticipation of the music exercises the neural networks in the brain.
Your Brain on Music
Listening to music stimulates the pleasure center in the brain triggering the release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that makes you feel good. Dopamine makes you feel rewarded just like eating a favorite food or winning a game.
There is more to music’s effect on brain health than that, though. Individuals listening to music feel a sense of calm andone studyshows it lowers the levels of the hormone cortisol in their blood. Cortisol is what the body releases when you feel anxious or scared.
Improving Brain Functioning With Music
Music therapy is a staple treatment for individuals with dementia. A Stanford University study in 2006 showed music with a strong beat can stimulate the brain, potentially slowing its decline. The stimulation increases the blood flow toimprove memoryand cognitive function.
Stimulating Different Areas of the Brain With New Music
A2013 studypublished by the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study found researchers could predict whether someone liked a new song or not based on the changes to their brain. Certain areas of the brain had increased neural activity when the person listening enjoyed music they were hearing for the first time. The current theory is that the brain stores a snippet of the music so the next time you hear it, it has a different impact.
When you combine music and music education with other factors critical to brain health like eating right, exercising and taking a brain support supplement like1 Body’s Brain Supportproduct, you might improve memory, cognitive thinking and focus. And, you can do it all while enjoying your favorite tunes.
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