Music and its effects on the human body continue to be amazing. It can be used for so many things, such as memory aids for Alzheimer’s patients to altering your mood. Doctors are now prescribing Music Therapy for a number of conditions from medical to mental health.
From Didge Project:
“According to The Cardiovascular Society of Great Britain, listening to certain music with a repetitive rhythm for least ten seconds can lead to a decrease in blood pressure and a reduced heart rate. Certain classical compositions, if matched with human body’s rhythm, can be therapeutically used to keep the heart under control”.
A study from Oxford University states that listening to music that has a 10-second repeated rhythm has a positive correlation with a drop in blood pressure and heart rate. The study concludes that it can be used for helping with hypertension.
Due to music’s affective nature on emotions, it can help with stress and depression. A study from McGill University showed that listening to “agreeable” music encouraged the brain to produce dopamine, the feel-good hormone.
Playing music also has a major benefit on mental health. The Namm Foundation created a comprehensive list of the benefits. Here’s a link to some more information about how music can benefit the brain.
For those who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), playing an instrument can help. The US Department of Veterans Affairs shared a study about vets with PTSD learning to play the guitar and experiencing relief. There’s even an organization that provides guitars called Guitars For Vets. Canadian veterans also have this program.
The effect of music on Alzheimer’s patients is well documented and I have even written about it before. Plenty of studies have been done, here’s some information from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.
In children and teens, learning music can help boost academic performance. According to Didge Project, “early exposure to music increases the plasticity of brain helping to motivate the human brain’s capacity in such a way that it responds readily to learning, changing and growing”.
Furthermore, James S. Catterall, a professor at UCLA, analyzed the academic achievement of 6500 low-income students and discovered that over 40% of those who took arts courses scored in the top half of standardized tests by the time they reached tenth grade. Only 25% of students with minimal arts exposure tested in the top-half.
More effects of learning music on children’s brains include boosting brain development, as shown by this study from the University of Liverpool, and helping improve reading skills, as shown by the journal Psychology of Music.
In the realm of sleep, the Center for Cardiovascular Disease in China has shown that listening to music before and during sleep can help people who suffer chronic sleep disorders. Additionally, and perhaps a little strangely, if you suffer from sleep apnea, then maybe you should think about learning to play the didgeridoo. A study from the British Medical Journal showed that learning the Australian indigenous instrument helped patients who suffered from sleep apnea.
It’s amazing what music can do and how it affects the human brain. I’m sure we still have plenty more discoveries to make, too.