Picture a ravishing Saturday night out with your best friends, Most of us may think of going out to the club, bar, restaurant, etc. In a such a fast paced world, many of us may subconsciously strive off of the rhythmic/melodic feel that is provided by that art of music. Nowadays, music is commonly used to induce different feelings and emotions through the brain's natural response to sound. To enlighten the mood, an individual may play loud music that is high in tempo in order to increase the energy of the room. These type of responses come from
"midbrain to high-level cortical brain structures related to working memory and attention, and beyond that to movement-planning areas in the cortex. These regions track structural elements of a musical stimulus over time periods lasting up to several seconds, with each region processing information according to its own time scale" (Menon, News Center, Par.9).
For an example, fitness instructors may prefer playing reggae ton music for group class as it is known for "hoppy" melodies and very fast tempos. Such accelerated tempos plays a very quick response in the brain cortex; thus making the group more alert and energetic. As many studies are being performed to treat mental disorders, many physicians prescribe medical treatment to their patients using drugs such as antidepressants and amphetamines to boost endorphin levels to patients in need. Specific forms of music therapy are designed as a natural way to enhance mental performance. Knowing that the brain shows various different reactions to the power of music, the question results as, what causes these brain changes?" and what can you do to further brain stimulation?
Musical frequencies have their way of finding specialized pathways through the cortex's of your brain. Just like all other ways of learning, music can benefit us more or less based on how much we listen to it, or even perform it. Like the old saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks", the quote carries a similar meaning when it comes to learning how to play music as it is more effectively achieved at a young age. Anyone has the ability to learn an instrument at any point in their life; however music is much like another language and it tends to become instinctive during the developmental stage in children. Many people can learn to love music, but very few have the abilities to compose their own rhythmic melodies for other people to enjoy. A previous study performed by a professor shows that
"students who played instruments tended to carry a higher average IQ than the students that who have not practiced any musical instruments" (Studies and news, tri).
As noted by University of Michigan-Dearborn Professor Thomas Fiore
"Music and Mathematics are intricately related. Strings vibrate at certain frequencies. Sound waves can be described by mathematical equations" (Fiore,umd, Par.1)
Nowadays many genres are produced using Digital Audio Workshops or "DAW". Popular DAWs such as FL Studio, Ableton, Pro Logic, and etc. Give the artist a whole new way to electronically build instrumental tracks. As instruments are traditionally used to make sounds for the singer, the producer is now able to digitally manipulate these sounds a various different ways to come up with the overall sound of the song. These techniques very well compare to math as the producer uses mathematical problem solving methods to pinpoint the position of a particular piece of the song. Many artist who habitually practice playing an instruments will gain an unconscious ability to detect frequency levels and locate any unwanted extra noise. Just like all other abilities, the art of listening carries itself as its own quality. Not all ears are specially trained, but the ones that are most enhanced are the ones that have practiced selective listening in all different musical elements.
Many wonder why we react the way we do when our favorite song comes on. Many people may get goose bumps and some may get butterflies in their stomach.
"About 50 percent of people get chills when listening to music. Studies indicate that it is because music stimulates the pathways in the brain, pushing dopamine to fill the striatum which is: an area of the forebrain activated by addiction, reward, and motivation. Music may affect our brains the same way that sex, gambling, and potato chips do". (Reilly, Mental Floss, Par. 2)
With music acting as a supplement for brain stimulation, psychologists managed to create a way for musical genres to be chosen as a form of therapy to treat mental illnesses such as depression, ocd, adhd, and schizophrenia. Most people may not realize that their favorite type of music may not be as effective when studying for an exam but beethoven symphony 9 is very worldly known as a song that encourages happiness. Music therapy enthusiasts are very well educated in both music and psychology which is beneficial for the patient as this a great way to both open others to different music, relieve stress, focus, and calm depression. On a cognitive level, teachers will commonly introduce music to the students during school hours
"Upon musical learning, the students demonstrated increases in self discipline and mental alertness" (Studies and news, tri).
Fortunately we have now found a way to direct the mind of an individual by the performance of scales and melody. As music is becoming more and more appreciated as time goes by, we can essentially use this to our advantage to better the way we think overall.
Music Therapy is known to enhance memories, thus providing happiness through the nostalgic effect. (AMTA)
Music Therapy can treat depression through its specialized selection of calming melodies that are proven to relieve daily stress and anxiety (AMTA)
It is quite apparent that music has become a necessity in most people's way of living. The way we talk, eat, sleep, and problem solve, all occur in a rhythmic fashion. Our common traditions carried by human beings are much similar to the spoken language of "music". Children who have been raised while learning to play an instrument, will most likely develop enhanced motor skills in certain aspects.
Musicians who started early in life may notice an increase in the small cerebellum, which is on the same side of the active left hand (Schlaug,2001 in Journal of Anatomy).
Experienced musicians will usually have the upper hand in terms of creativity, functionality, and rhythmic form. These qualities can be used anywhere as our brain able to connect our knowledge to help us get by everyday situations. Many of us can say that we enjoy listening to music a lot but more of us may want to consider opening up their horizons to new musical categories. The internet is full of music and there actually are many websites that have designed playlists to enhance the mood of all individuals in any given situation. The sooner we can encourage the movement of musical therapy, the sooner we will be able to safely develop a way for us to cope with our everyday mental stresses.
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