The psychological effects of music

By Maddie Meesters on 02-02-2021

We all listen to music. Some of us even listen to it every day. But why do we love music so much? What happens in our brain when we listen to music? There is a lot of research that proves the benefits of music, but there are also stories that don’t make sense. No kid will become a genius if it listens to Mozart in their early ages. Scientist Rebecca Schaefer and Eric Scherder will explain us everything.

Your brain on music

Both scientists cannot describe in one word what music does to us. It’s so powerful that it can influence many specific elements of our brain, such as rhythm, sound, melody and harmony. Music is also the most powerful way to evoke emotions. Let’s be honest, we all want to listen to extremely sad songs when we are sad. "Once the brainstem picks up sounds that we like, it injects dopamine into the reward system, putting it on play and we enjoy music. It is already known that this reward system reacts to sex and drugs, but it now appears to be also with rock 'n' roll.", says Scherder.

Specific genres with specific emotions

Even genres in music can describe emotions. Death metal, like ArtKiller, expresses anger. It lays in the chords of the music. Songs in a minor key are often seen as sad, for example.

ArtKiller - Vain Scream

Listening to music is healthy

Music also plays an important role in (mental) health. Elderly people with dementia often have anxiety and music helps them relax again. Furthermore, music helps with treatment: music helps people that are autistic with their communication, music slows our heart rate, lowers blood pressure and even the immune system can function better.

Music is unique

The most unique thing about music, is that humans immediately feel the need to move, dance or clap. “A beat or a certain rhythm can help people with a stable movement or better timing, but maybe are motivation and fun key chapters in this” says Schaefer.

Why does music affect us?

Scientists often discuss about this question. Some say that music isn’t essential for surviving, while others suspect that the Neanderthals did practice music because it seemed to have value. Scherder thinks they did. "Music helps us survive because it stimulates group formation, and as a group you are simply stronger. Even a collection of strangers experience solidarity the fastest when they make music together. Melody and rhythm force people to tune in. Perhaps that is the best thing about music: that’s not only good for yourself, but it also really connects you with others. Ultimately it is bigger than you."

So as you can see, there are many benefits when you listen to music. We can actually conclude one thing: music is the answer to everything. There is no better way to enjoy music then live music! So if you miss live music, do not hesitate to book your (online) music experience now through Gigstarter.

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Tags: music, explained, scientists, benefits