Music and the brain

Although those who know me well understand that music isn’t my strong suit (you don’t ever want to hear me doing karoke) I frequently come across interesting articles on how music can benefit our minds and bodies in many different ways.

Recently, a column by Kimberly Garrison of the Philadelphia Daily News had me thinking about it again. Garrison writes that, “A strong musical beat stimulates the brain and increases mental alertness. At the same time, a slow beat has a calming and meditative effect.” The Alzheimer’s Project reminded me how interconnected all aspects of our health are. Why not multi-task for your brain and listen to music while playing a game to exercise your mind?

What songs do you think are best for the brain? I would suggest some classics: Beethoven, Mozart, Bach . . . this list goes on (and you can find a list and hear some of the music on Digital Dream Door).

What would you recommend for music to stimulate the brain?

Researching the positive effects of music on the brain, I also found a Time article from 2005 on the potential for music therapy to benefit Alzheimer’s patients. While the importance of medications and science cannot be overlooked, music is a calming, familiar influence and potential underutilized resource in care. For more on the healing effects of music, Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks is a terrific resource.

Musicophila by Oliver Sacks

Musicophila by Oliver Sacks

Speaking of activating all the senses, thank you to Jonathan Winkelman for sending the terrific NPR piece on training the brain: To Keep Your Brain Nimble as You Age, Stretch It. The section on sensory memory and the importance of things like smell to the brain was especially interesting. Please keep sending and posting articles you want to share with all Marbles fans.

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2 Responses to Music and the brain

  1. J. Pine says:

    Mood disorders are greatly influenced by music. Depression stiffles brain activity. Music has been proven to help increase a persons levels of Serotonin, thus alleviating mental depression.

    Anxiety can also be alleviated with music. Music can play a crutial role in calming nerves and creating a sense of peace.

    Being a teacher by trade, I am very aware of, and have witnessed, the positive effects music can have on learners of all ages. Positive attitudes towards learning and motivation are just two benefits of using music to accompany learning. Study after study has shown that students have shown remakable academic improvements when using music to aid their studies.

  2. Don says:

    Bill Evans solo piano and trio work is very stimulating for brain activity and yet soothing as well.

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