study break

Why Study Music?

Whether listening or playing it, music is good for you. Need the latest science to prove it to you?

Musical ability is correlated to high test scores in reading and math. One study tested grade school students on musical skills like pitch, meter, major/minor keys, reading music, and more, and they found students who scored high here tended to also score high in math and reading.

Music is “embodied.” Increasingly, scientists are confirming that musical “semantics” (the grammar of a song, such as its rhythm and pitch) mimic human cognitive states. In other words, a song’s “meaning is biologically mediated by and grounded in the human body and brain.” This is why some songs evoke a swelling sense of awe and others, the onset of a panic attack (*cough* rave music *cough*). We can use electroencephalography (EEG) to study emotional response to music in the brain.

That gives music strong therapeutic benefits. The brain’s ability to perceive music – and correlate it to physical and emotional response – contributes, according to some, to its social, cognitive, emotional, and therapeutic benefits, from preterm infants to Alzheimer’s patients.

Music is a language that uses multiple parts of the brain. Cellists use the same parts of their brain for singing and playing cello. Even listening to music engages multiple regions of the brain, both musical and emotional ones.

Reduce stress. Fight anxiety. Boost your mood. Listen to music, play something, or sing along to your favorite songs.

My current favorites to play: Sangah Noona’s Por Una Cabeza, Kristin Mosca’s Be Our Guest, Kyle Landry’s A Whole New World, Frederic Chopin’s Valse Brillante Op. 18, Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer (classic.)

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