We all love music, and its versatility means there’s something for everyone. Regardless of the genre, music makes us feel good. It’s there for us during difficult times like death or break-ups, and it’s there for us in extraordinary times, and is key to any celebration. If you are wondering why music has that effect on us, let’s take a look at what it does inside of our brains.
How we hear music
First, let’s talk about how our brains are able to hear music. Sound is measured in waves – these waves or vibrations enter our ears and tickle our ear drums. This is transmitted into an electrical signal that travels through our auditory nerve to our brain stem, where we then hear the music or what we perceived to be music. John Hopkins conducted a study with Jazz musicians and rappers in which they improvised while laying down in an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) machine as the scientists watched to see which areas of their brains lit up in the scan. So this brings us to how music effects our moods.
Music’s effect on our mood
For some of us, when we’re having a bad day it’s easy to throw on some headphones and listen to songs that make us feel good. Even sad music can bring us some sense of comfort; in fact, people reported that when they go through loss, hardship, or aa break-up they listen to sad music. Additionally, those who listened to upbeat music reported mood improvement in just about two weeks. While the progress isn’t instant, it’s something to consider when you’re feeling down.
Music as Therapy
With the research that has been done, music is moving in the direction of being used for therapy. Some studies showed that music can even help with physical pain. In 2015, a study was conducted that found that individuals who listened to music before, during, or after a surgery experienced less pain than those who didn’t. Not to mention, they also didn’t need as much medication as opposed to those who didn’t listen to music.
Music is an extraordinary part of human experiences. Many times, it IS the experience. The euphoria, the goosebumps, and the invigoration that arise from listening to music can literally be life-changing. The energy and vibrations created by the words and melodies of your favorite songs have the profound power to pull you out of a depression, alleviate real pain, and provoke thoughts and actions that can alter your path in life. It does wonders for a person’s overall well-being, so no matter where you’re at in life or how you’re feeling, there is a song for every occasion to get you through it.
Dr. Steffanie Stecker a licensed psychologist and the owner and clinical director of Mountain Vista Psychology, PLLC.
In addition, she is a board certified neurotherapist (BCN E5669) and board certified in QEEG (QEEG-D). Less than 100 people world wide are board certified in QEEG, which indicates competency in reading QEEGs and choosing neurofeedback protocols. Dr. Stecker is passionate about brain based effective therapy and creating a safe relationship for her clients to create change. She loves what she gets to do each day!