I see several joggers putting on their headphones, while jogging or walking in the park. The sight of people with headphone working on their computers is also not a new one. This habit of hearing music while you storm through your daily workload is actually beneficial for your brain and your work consequently. Music has become an inseparable part of our lives. Not only does it sooth, relax and boost our attitude, it also has some very advantageous effect on the working of our brain.
Here are some of the ways in which music brings us joy.
Nature Of music
Though we can readily identify a particular music as happy or sad, it is not just the subjective reference that gives us the feeling. Music makes positive effects on the brain of listener. Our brain is designed to react to sad or happy music in different way. A short piece of music, when played to the participants in a study revealed that a neutral expression was associated with sad or happy based on the tone of music. Though this occurred with other facial expressions, it was more pronounced in the neutral expression.
Our emotions are affected by music in two main ways. One is the perceived emotion, while the other is the emotion that is felt. There are times when we understand the sadness in a particular piece of music, without feeling it deeply. So this is why there are people who get motivated by sad tunes, instead of becoming depressed. The music we hear is not associated with any real life situation, so it does not pose any threat to us making us perceive it without any true feelings, just like removed feelings we have.
Though people think that loud and peppy music is just right for creative work, it is not true. Loud music in fact is not the right option. Moderate decibel levels are apt for creativity and ambient noise is more effective in increasing the creative juices. The music raises the difficulty level of our brain’s processing, which stimulates the creative skills in us. But in case of higher decibels, the creative feeling is blocked as we are too overwhelmed by the noisy music and find it very difficult to process information in a successful way. Just like the temperature and the amount of light affect our work, music too plays an important part.
Though this may not be to your liking, it is still an aspect that is very interesting to note. When the favorite list of songs were researched on, the personality traits were easy to recognize. The characteristic used include open mindedness, agreeable nature, emotional strength, conscientiousness and extraversion. Of these five characteristics some of them were more precisely found out from the music listened to.
The study done by Heriot –Watt University concluded that Blues fans and Jazz fans had high self-esteem, creativity and were at ease, while classical music fans were introverts with the other factors the same as in the former two types. Rap, country and western music fans are outgoing, while reggae fans are not of hardworking type, but possess all the other characters. Country and western music fans were found to be hardworking and at ease. Indie and dance fans were not gentle and Bollywood fans were creative and outgoing. Chart pop fans were not creative nor were at ease as the others.
Distraction during driving
While most people listen to music while driving, it has been found that certain types of music were highly distracting and drivers were found to be aggressive and made more mistakes when listening to their own music choices. Safe and soothing music, which is favorable for the driving atmosphere was not liked by them. And studies also reveal that uninteresting and unfamiliar music is more beneficial rather than not listening to music totally.
Music training benefits
That learning music instruments is good for children is a well-known factor, but it has more goodness in it than you can possibly know about. A study done on children who had over three years of music training showed that they performed better than those who did not have any training in relation to
- Fine motor skills
- Discrimination abilities
- Better vocabulary
- Nonverbal reasoning skill
- Analyzing visual information like identifying patterns, shapes and even relationships.
Thus music training gives various advantages to kids with its effect on the different skills they can develop. I’ve found than listening to music, while exercising also has a great impact, because of a similar reason.
Increased visual attention
In a study done on stroke patients it has been found that a better attention visually is stimulated by listening to classical music. In case of noise and complete silence the visual attention decreased showing that there is a definite relationship.
One sided conversations
In a related study on the noise factor it was found that phone calls where we hear a conversation one sided can be quite distracting. Those who overhear a cellphone conversation find it very annoying. While doing some work or just reading a newspaper in a restaurant, hearing an ongoing conversation on a cell phone where only one side of the conversation can be heard is very distracting than when you are able to hear both sides. The one sided conversations are more in memory than when you hear both sides. This is because of the irregular nature of the conversation, which grabs the listener’s attention. When you listen to both sides, you can understand what they’re talking and it will soon be forgotten but not so, if you hear an incomplete conversation like the one sided one.
Exercise for body
Music as I’d said before is very good for exercising. Listening to music dulls the fatigue caused in the brain and it stops sending signals to the body to relax. The music competes for the attention of the brain, thus distracting it from the pain you get while exercising. High intensity exercises like crossfit workouts benefit more from music. Further the music also helps to use our energy in a more efficient way. And finally music positively impacts your mood.