I have always been in awe of people who can sing and play guitar. As a young boy, I secretly listened to singer-songwriter music in my bedroom into the wee hours. As a teenager, I cranked rock ‘n’ roll in the house whenever I had to do chores. I always felt great afterward – now I know why.
Why do we live for live music? On the molecular level, research shows that listening to music improves our mental well-being and physical health. If you love listening to music, you’re in good company.
Charles Darwin once remarked, “If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.” Albert Einstein declared, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician.” Jimi Hendrix called music his “religion.”
Below are 10 wonderful reasons why we should listen to good music.
1.) Music helps to increase happiness.
William James said, “I don’t sing because am happy, am happy because I sing”
It has approved through thorough research that when listening to favorite music, the brain cells will release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that enhances happiness, joy, excitement, etc. Valorie Salimpoor, a neuroscientist at McGill University, injected eight music-lovers with a radioactive substance that binds to dopamine receptors after they listened to their favorite music. A PET scan showed that large amounts of dopamine were released, which biologically caused the participants to feel emotions like happiness, excitement, and joy.
So, it just takes 15 minutes of listening to your favorite tunes to boost your emotions such as happiness, joy, and excitement. That’s all it takes to get a natural high.
2.) Music enhances running performance.
Eminem said, “If people take anything from my music, it should be motivation to know that anything is possible as long as you keep working at it and don’t back down.”
Some scientists like Marcelo Bigliassi and his colleagues found that runners who listened to fast or slow motivational music completed the first 800 meters of their run faster than runners who listened to calm music or ran without music. If you want to take your running up a notch, listen to songs that inspire you. Good music energizes the muscles for better lifting and relaxation.
3.) Music reduces stress and improves health.
“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from.” – Billy Joel.
Listening to good music helps to decrease stress hormones called cortisol counteracting chronic stress. It has been believed that stress causes 60% of body illness. A healthy body system is maintained when body stress is kept at normal by reducing the amount of cortisol released in the body. Research had shown that a person who actively participated in making music by playing various instruments and singing will have their immune system boosted more than if the person has passively listened.
To stay calm and healthy during a stressful day, turn on the radio. Be sure to sing along and tap your feet to the beat to get the maximum healing benefit.
4.) Music improves sleeping
“Music drives you. It wakes you up, it gets you pumping. And, at the end of the day, the correct tune will chill you down.” – Dimebag Darrell
From analysis and research, it was approved that over 30% of Americans suffer from insomnia. A study showed that listening to classical or relaxing music within an hour of going to bed significantly improves sleep, compared to listening to an audiobook or doing nothing before bed. Since we know music can directly influence our hormones, it only makes sense to throw on some Beethoven (or Dark Side of The Moon ?) before bed when in need of a good night’s sleep.
5.) Music reduces depression.
“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” Said by Maya Angelou.
As said earlier that music has a direct effect on our hormone. It could be considered as an antidepressant. This is because certain tunes cause the release of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters in the brain, which lead to increased feelings of happiness and well-being. It also releases norepinephrine, which is a hormone that invokes feelings of euphoria.
It had been found that more than 350 million people suffer from depression and 90% of them also experience insomnia. From research, it was observed that the symptoms of depression reduced in the people that listened to classical and relaxing music before sleeping.
6.) Music improves learning and memory.
“Music is the language of memory.” – Jodi Picoult
Researchers of the contemporary time had shown that listening to music can also help you learn and recall information more efficiently. Though it depends on the degree to which you like the music and whether or not you play an instrument. It had made known that musicians actually learned better with neutral music, but tested better with music that they liked; whereas non-musicians learned better with positive music but tested better with neutral music. Therefore, the degree of performance differentiates between learning and memory for musicians and non-musicians.
7.) Music reduces pain.
“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” – Bob Marley.
Research done at Drexel University in Philadelphia showed that music therapy and pre-recorded music reduced pain more than standard treatments in cancer patients. Some other experiments showed that music can reduce pain in intensive care patients and geriatric care patients, but the selection needed to be either classical pieces, meditative music, or songs of the patient’s choosing.
8.) Music increases verbal intelligence.
“Music is to the soul what words are to the mind.” –Modest Mouse
It had found from the study at York University that 90% of children between the ages of 4 and 6 had effectively increased verbal intelligence after a month of embarking on music lessons, where they studied rhythm, pitch, melody, and voice. The results suggest that music training is a transfer mechanism that fastened the children’s ability to fathom words, and even more, explain their meaning.
9.) Music raises IQ and academic performance.
Research suggests that taking music lessons predetermines high academic performance and IQ scores in young children. The study surveyed a group of 6-year-olds who took keyboard or vocal lessons in small groups for 36 weeks. The results showed they had significantly larger increases in IQ and standardized educational test results over that time than children who took other extracurricular activities unrelated to music. The singing group showed the most improvement.
10.) Music keeps your brain healthy in old age.
“Music is the true breath of life. We eat so we won’t starve to death. We sing so we can hear ourselves live.” – Yasmina Khadra
A study with healthy older adults found that those with ten or more years of musical experience scored higher on cognitive tests than musicians with one to nine years of musical study. The non-musicians scored the lowest. “Since studying an instrument requires years of practice and learning, it may create alternate connections in the brain that could compensate for cognitive declines as we get older,” says lead researcher Brenda Hanna-Pladdy.
In complement to the above 10 reasons we have to listen to good music, there are some others which include helping to eat less, relaxation of patients before and after surgery, increasing memory pathways for patients with Alzheimer’s, improving recovery in stroke patients, and to mention but a few. Music is really an antidote to a healthy system and mind. It is advisable that all embark on listening to good music.