Music: the Medicine of the Mind

Music can have effects on the human brain that are hard to exaggerate. For instance, a mere snippet of song can trigger one’s memories so vividly. A tune can induce emotions ranging from unabashed joy to deep sorrow and can drive listeners into states of patriotic fervour or religious frenzy–to say nothing of its legendary ability to soothe the savage beast. The study of how music affects the mind and the interconnection between music and the physical and mental health of human beings has been a subject of interest for many.

Music is known to speed the recovery of health ailments and has a calming effect on the mind. Music helps fight anxiety and has a soothing effect on the brain. Music may affect the brain/mind by increasing creativity and problem solving skills; concentration and memory; and speeding up healing. Music increases creativity and problem-solving skills. Music enhances creativity, by positively impacting the right side of the brain where most of one’s creative thought is situated and triggering brain centres which deal with enhancing creativity.

For example, according to the article “Healing by Music Therapy – Ragas” From the online magazine: ‘Akhand Jyoti’, certain ragas (A pattern of notes in Indian music that have characteristic intervals, rhythms, and embellishments, used as a basis for improvisation) activate the chakras of the body, thus giving the individual an added advantage in other creative tasks. Additionally, music increases spatial and abstract reasoning skills required in tackling problems, solving puzzles and decision-making.

Moreover, according to Eric H. Chudler, Ph. D. , a lecturer at the Washington University Faculty of Music, “the brain responds to the “Mozart Effect”; listening to classical music for a period of 10 minutes appears to increase your creative abilities. ” Therefore, listening to Mozart’s music positively affects the spatial-temporal reasoning, simply put; it ‘makes one smarter’. Furthermore, music increases concentration levels and improves memory.

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According to the online article “The Brain on Music” by the neurologist Dr. Ellen Weber; “Classical music, such as Haydn and Mozart, often improves concentration and memory when played in the background. ” Hence, music helps increase your concentration levels a great deal. In addition, music has a calming effect on the mind, so, the calmer the mind, the easier it is to focus and concentrate. Additionally, music has been found to increase memory levels of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

The silence between two musical notes triggers brain cells which are responsible for the development of sharp memory. Flute music, and instruments like the santoor and sarod are recommended for the enhancement of concentration and memory. Also, classical music improves the ability to recall what’s retained in the brain in the form of memory. Strong beats cause the brain waves to resonate in synch with the beat, thus, leading to increased levels of concentration and increased mental alertness. Moreover, music acts as a catalyst in the healing process.

According to the online article “Music and the Healing Process” from the Thorburn Associates Acoustic and Technology Consultants website, “There is also significant research that music can be used in medicine to help manage pain, reduce anxiety…” Hence, music is an effective distraction from pain and suffering of the sick and injured, however, music not only diverts the mind from pain, but also helps bring about certain chemical changes in the brain, such as, enabling one’s mind to secrete endorphins that speed up the process of healing.

As a result, music therapy is recommended for patients of high blood pressure, heart diseases and even cancer, so, music may be considered as therapeutic in pain management. Therefore, listening to melodious, comforting music is sure to have a positive effect on the physical and mental well-being of patients. If not cure every ailment, music definitely creates hope in the minds of patients – a hope to recover. And when nothing else works, only hope does. To sum up, increased creativity and problem solving skills; concentration and memory levels; and speedy healing, are the effects music has on the mind/brain.

Music really affects the human mind a great deal. So much so, that it influences one’s physical and mental state. Music aids in the speedy recovery of ailments by diverting the mind away from the pain as well as through chemical changes in the brain brought about by music which catalyse the healing process. In addition music calms the mind, helps fight anxiety and has a soothing effect on the brain, thus, increasing one’s concentration and memory levels. Lastly, through triggering brain centres and stimulation of the right side of the brain, music enhances an individual’s creativity and problem-solving skills.

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