As a practising musician for more than 20 years, I can guarantee that playing music makes you feel better. Music, according to neuroscientists, heightens a pleasant mood by producing dopamine spikes that may make us feel good, if not ecstatic.
Regardless of genre, has a powerful impact on both the emotions and the body. Faster music might help you concentrate and feel more awake. Upbeat music may boost your mood and help you feel more hopeful about life. A slower-paced song will calm your thoughts and relax your muscles, making you feel comforted and relieved of the day's tension.
Remember when you tried to increase your attention while working or distract yourself from discomfort following a workout? What about when a lot of us dance joyfully and carelessly to our favorite music? Or when we try to unwind with a simple meditation at the end of the day?
Additionally, music may improve more than just your general happiness. The study also looks at the long history of music's use in healing and cultural rituals, which has demonstrated music's potential to improve people's health and well-being.
For example, music has been shown to aid people in recovering from Alzheimer's surgery. It increased their happiness, resulting in a faster overall recovery. It has far more impact on both physical and mental health than medications!
Music makes you happy
As mentioned, listening to or playing music releases a chemical in your brain called dopamine. It is the same thing that your body releases when you work out, and it is able to enhance your mood and decrease anxiety. Additionally, it also aids in the creation of a stress-reducing hormone called cortisol.
As a result, your body will respond in pleasure, joy, and motivation.
One research presented music’s positive influence on male coronary patients and healthy people, where they had to listen to a slow-paced Raga Desi-Todi played on a flute for 30 minutes a day for 20 straight days. The researchers adopted pre and post-treatment psychophysiological measures, and discovered that:
Their blood pressure decreased significantly on both systolic (blood pressure when one’s heart contracts) and diastolic (blood pressure between beats when your heart relaxes).
The patients were also seen as happier, with their stress, anxiety, and depression levels reduced. It makes them more optimistic about their lives and makes them more hopeful about their future.
Performing music and playing musical instruments also have a calming effect. In studies among adult choir singers, practicing the same song together regularly will be able to synchronize their breathing and heart rates, creating a group-wide calming effect. Music does not only bring happiness to individuals; it also gives happiness to the whole group!
During the pandemic, especially, the circumstances are rather unnerving and full of uncertainties. Playing music is not only an activity encouraged among children, however, but adults also start to pick up musical instruments to both fill up their time at home as well as, of course, to distract themselves from anxiety and stress.
Also, do you know that classical songs can resolve migraines, persistent headaches, and even sleeping issues!
It improves your physical health and wellbeing.
Adult patients are not the only ones benefiting from music; pediatric patients can too! Another study published in 2013 found that music can reduce stress, anxiety, and even pain intensity in pediatric patients.
The research was conducted at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children among 37 children between the ages of four and seven years old with cardiac and/or respiratory illnesses.
Each child participated in three 10-minute sessions; the first involved music, the second involved reading, and the last involved no interactions with stimulus at all. The researchers used their physiological responses pre and post-session, for instance, oxygen saturation level and heart rate, and pain assessment.
At the end of the music session, researchers found that their heart rate and pain level decreased significantly, compared to other sessions. In contrast, the younger pediatric patients experienced a great increase in their oxygen saturation level. As a result, the mood and happiness level of each child was improved greatly, too!
These are the studies conducted in hospitals where the participants were not in their prime health. Imagine what it could do to us - the healthy ones? We can reap a lot of benefits by listening to music for at least half an hour each day!
Music helps us focus on anything we’re doing!
Our brains love music, period. Interestingly, the brain prefers a specific spectrum of musical properties, but it doesn’t hate other genres, though.
A study by Maria Witek reveals that the spectrum has to sit on a level of syncopation to elicit a pleasure response and associated body movements. In other words, your brain likes music that is funky, but not too funky, so your brain can push you to bust a move.
Probably, you have experienced it yourself often enough. Simple, monotonous beach (lower syncopation) does not trigger that move, however, chaotic and unpredictable music (higher syncopation), like free jazz, can be off-putting and rarely entice you to dance. Am I correct?
The middle ground, on the other hand, serves as the sweet spot that makes you dance. Remember Taylor Swift or James Brown? Those musicians, among other modern pop artists, play music within this range too, no doubt.
We have two attention systems in our brain; a conscious one that enables us to direct our focus to do things we want to do, and an unconscious one that catalyzes reactions by senses. The unconscious operates faster, is fundamental and simple, and is linked to emotional processing than higher reasoning.
The unconscious part never shuts down, even if the conscious one pays 100% of its attention to a task on hand. The unconscious part scans for everything around you, in other words, if you are doing a dull or unpleasant task, the unconscious one will pick up circumstantial occurrences faster than the conscious one. It will be more potent, and your brain is not distracted enough to focus on a certain task.
Music will be the best solution to this problem. It provides non-invasive noise and pleasurable emotions, which effectively neutralizes the unconscious attention system’s ability to react to circumstantial occurrences.
Think of it like giving a puppy a new tennis ball to play with, while you are trying to get some work done.
This is exactly why music helps you focus.
When you exercise, for instance, music helps shift the unconscious part of the brain from reacting to the pain then increases your focus. A study found that people who ran on treadmills, accompanied by music had, a longer exercise duration. The study also proved that their happiness levels were higher, due to the combination of dopamine release caused by music and endorphins released by exercising itself.
What to do next? Listen to a playlist of your favorite songs or artists for at least 30 minutes a day. You can also create different playlists for when you exercise, study, work, and even idle.
Even better, you can start playing the musical instrument of your choice! Ask our experienced team in Ensiklomusika Music School any questions about the right instruments for you. If you’re not sure, remember that you can even train your natural “instrument” - your own voice.
Let’s have fun and grow with music, together.