They say to workout your body, you go to the gym, you want to workout your brain? Listen to your favorite tunes.
Nothing quite like it!
Music is actually an intricate structural, mathematical and architectural mechanism, as it’s based on relationships between one note and the next. Sound vibrations travel to our ear canals, tickle the eardrum and are then transmitted into electrical signals that travel through the auditory nerve to the brain stem, where it then gets reassembled into something we perceive as music. That’s just the beginning though, as music then goes on to activate almost all parts of the brain regions and networks! For example, The parts of the brain responsible for emotion are not only activated during emotional music, they are synchronized with other parts of the brain in order to feel. Music also activates memory regions and interestingly enough, even activates your motor systems as it allows us to pick out the beat of the music even before we start dancing! Little can stimulate the brain in the same way, and therefore gives your brain a total workout!
The brain works hard to enjoy music
This constant processing of music makes the brain so much stronger as it works hard to keep a variety of brain pathways and networks working well enough to enjoy the sounds. Some of those networks are involved in well-being, learning, cognitive function, quality of life, and happiness. It seems like listening to music helps in a well rounded brain!
Ever heard of “use it or lose it”?
The brain is extremely efficient, it rewires and evaluates its pathways and networks often, strengthening those most used and weakening those not often in use. it isn’t going to bother keeping either strong when it hasn’t been used in many years, the neurons could be put to good use somewhere else! But as mentioned earlier, music activates all parts of the brain, and listening to it often lets the brain know to strengthen a whole lot of pathways, leaving a majority of the brain stronger and less likely to lose important pathways or networks.
Strong brain, strong gain!
With music strengthening pathways and networks, they get stronger when they face adversity, improving memory recall, reducing seizures, and even helping in repairing brain damage. This can prove to be incredibly useful in the prevention of cardiac conditions, depression, autism, substance abuse, and dementia, along with many others. Additionally, music can help people experiencing dementia, where studies have shown that they respond better to the music they grew up listening to. “If you play someone’s favorite music, different parts of the brain light up, that means memories associated with music are emotional memories, which never fade out — even in Alzheimer’s patients” (Kiminobu Sugaya, Ph.D.).
Mozart theory, debunked!
The Mozart theory suggested that there is a connection between listening to classical music and making the listener smarter. This is not true! This theory was debunked when researchers found that the gray matter in your brain takes to the music you have an affinity to, whether that be rock and roll, indie, jazz, or hip-hop, listen to it with pride! Any music is beneficial, and being open to new types of music, recent or old, can aid in strengthening your brain pathways even further.
Music holds the key
If anything, take this as an excuse to listen to music more often and with more pride! Your brain benefits a lot more than we could ever feel, go get those gains!