The experience of music is a universal and natural phenomenon, yet research into its mechanisms remains elusive. This blog post aims to elucidate the possible neurological and evolutionary mechanisms responsible for humans’ unique affinity for music, namely focusing on the potential role of dopamine. Can we truly “love” music, or is it just a pleasurable sensation? We need to know why our brain assigns such a high value to music to answer this question.
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1- The need for music
The adage: “Music has two powers – the power to charm and move” is still good after all these years. Music has three main components: rhythm, melody, and harmony. These three components can be found in many other animals, like birds, queens, and even fish. However, humans differ from other animals in that they create and produce music with a specific purpose: pure entertainment. The ability to listen to music is one of the unique factors of human development, something that allows us, humans, to sit down and enjoy the life of others without having to do anything. We have been told repeatedly that just about everything we do socially comes at a cost. We are social beings, and music allows us to be social in a new way.
Music has two powers: charm and the power to move.
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2- Musical training and development
Audio-visual stimulation occurs in critical periods of childhood development, causing a significant imprinting or memorization effect. Music training helps strengthen children’s brain function with special needs, reducing problems that may occur with attention deficit disorder (ADHD), autism, dyslexia, and even stuttering. Musical training begins at birth for most babies, providing superior brainpower later on in life. Music’s benefits continue throughout our lives as we age, from increased memory and focus to emotional wellbeing and intelligence levels.
3- Music and positive feelings
Studying music can be tedious, but for the most part, it is exciting. The study of music allows us, humans, to learn and understand many things about ourselves, including how music affects our minds and bodies. For example, while it may be challenging to wrap your head around all of this information, data suggests that the simple act of listening to a piece of music can increase your life expectancy by as much as two years. Listening to music regularly can significantly impact your overall happiness levels – making you more prone to depression, less susceptible to pain, and more likely to live a long life. It’s easy to see how music can contribute to a healthy and
4- Music and intelligence
Recent studies suggest that music has an impact on intelligence levels. While the direct effect of listening to music on intelligence is still being researched, it is understood that listening to certain types of music can improve cognitive abilities and increase brain function. This could be because of the complex rhythm patterns in music that stimulate the brain at varying frequencies – able to use different parts of the brain at different points in time. Listening to music allows us, to unwind and tune out our daily worries while ‘waking up’ our brains simultaneously without realizing it.
5- The biological function of music
Music affects our emotions and our general health because it acts as a catalyst for various bodily functions. For example, listening to music can activate different parts of the brain in a way that helps most people relax when they are listening to music, regardless of genre or style. Listening to pop and rock music has been shown to reduce stress levels while experiencing insecurity in romantic relationships. Conversely, classical and jazz styles can also help reduce these stress levels. This improvement in emotional wellbeing can help reduce heart attack, stroke, and other cardiac problems.