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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

Drop the Beat: How Music Affects your Brain

Ever wondered why music changes your mood, motivates you to work, or even helps you determine a person’s personality by their choice of music?

This is because there is a strong link between music and brain activity.

For every movement or thought that or body makes there is always some brain function observed in some part of our brain in the FMRI scan. However, when music was turned on, there was an increase in brain activity not only in that particular area but in various parts of the brain.

Researchers describe this activity as ‘fireworks’ in the brain due to the rapid and random brain activity shown in the observed scans.

Why do such ‘Fireworks’ occur?

On hearing, there are various parts of your brain that get activated. They include: ⦁ Corpus Callosum Connects the two hemispheres of the brain.

⦁ Sensory Cortex Tactile feedback from hearing or playing music.

⦁ Auditory Cortex Listening, perception, and analysis of sound and tones.

⦁ Hippocampus Stores the memory of music, lyrics, and musical experiences.

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⦁ Visual Cortex Activated while reading music, watching a performance, or watching yourself react or dance to the beats.

⦁ Cerebellum and Motor Cortex Controls physical movements like dancing, tapping or playing an instrument.

⦁ Prefrontal Cortex Triggers creativity and satisfaction while listening to music.

⦁ Nucleus Accumbens and Amygdala Emotional response to music.

Thus, it’s safe to say that music is going on all throughout the brain: the inside and outside, the front and the back, and the left and the right.

The interesting part about this activity is that such an intricate and sequenced reaction takes place within the time frame of your first hearing the music and begin tapping your feet as a reaction.

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Effect of Music on your Brain Now there are two ways by which music can affect us: ⦁ Listening to Music ⦁ Playing an Instrument

Listening to Music By listening to music can help one to relax, concentrate, or boost your energy up. This is because music affects your brain chemistry.

It is capable of triggering the brain to release a chemical known as dopamine, the same chemical that makes you fall in love or gives you the “chills”.

Listening to music can also help you distract yourself from your body’s physical and psychological fatigue by increasing endurance and improving your cardiac and body muscles.

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Playing an Instrument Sure listening to music offers multiple benefits but it doesn’t stop there.

When you observe a musician playing an instrument they look calm and collected on the outside but there is a party of fireworks going on inside their brains.

However, this type of firework or brain activity is somewhat different as compared to the person just listening to music. The brain activity recorded while playing an instrument is equivalent to a full-body workout.

Credit: Pixabay

The main difference between playing and listening to music is that the former requires motor skills and thus requires more activity in that area.

Since motor skills are controlled in both hemispheres of the brain, playing an instrument regularly will strengthen the volume and activity of the corpus callosum, as it is the required bridge that connects and sends signals between the two hemispheres of the brain.

Thus, playing an instrument activates every area of your brain at once. So if we compare it to a workout, like any other disciplined structured practice, it will strengthen those brain functions which will in turn strengthen other functions as we all know the brain is the command center of the body.

Conclusion Listening to music is not only enjoyable but also beneficial to your neurological health as it improves various body functions. So don’t think twice before increasing that volume and letting yourself enjoy that beat.

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