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Music and the Brain: How We Understand and Feel Music

Team StoryWeavers|April 18, 2020| 188

‘Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything’ 

– Plato

On the face of it, music may not seem essential to human life. But if you look closely music has been a part of human culture throughout history. It is so ingrained into our existence that imagining a life without it almost seems impossible. You might know about the role of music in keeping us entertained and relaxed, but did you know that music has healing powers too? No, this is not coming out of a work of fiction but from Dr Oliver Sacks, who was a neurologist, historian of science and an author. He was one of the many doctors to have studied the effect of music on our brain. Their studies have shown that certain aspects of music such as rhythm and tempo help our brain in generating sequences and flow. This becomes particularly crucial with diseases like Parkinson’s, where patients have difficulty in sometimes even moving or talking. Music therapy has proven to be very effective in the treatment of such neurological conditions and others like Alzheimer’s disease, brain injury, stroke, depression, and anxiety.  

Where does music go in your brain?

You may think that music is only limited to our ears. Actually, ears are just the beginning of the story. When you listen to any piece of music, it travels from your middle ears to the inner ear, which converts the sound waves into electric signals, which are then carried by the nerve system from the inner ear to the brain.  Inside the brain, these signals are sent to the hippocampus and frontal lobe. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that regulates our motivation, memories, emotions and learning. The frontal lobes are responsible for problem-solving, emotional expression, language, judgement etc.

If you dance to music, that activates yet another part of the brain – the cerebellum (brain stem). It regulates our motor movements like walking, standing, co-ordinating different body parts etc. Furthermore, when you play an instrument, it involves even more parts of the brain. For reading musical notations, you’ll need the visual cortex, language centres in the frontal lobe and temporal lobe of the brain. Similarly, the physical process of playing an instrument activates the motor and sensory cortexes of the brain. To understand further about the functioning of the human brain, click here.

Can music change the brain? 

Humans make music and in some ways, music makes us too. Intrigued?. Music can do much more to our body than just relaxation, especially the brain. Our brains have the capacity to change based on the activities we perform, this is called the neuroplasticity of the brain. This ability of the brain makes it possible for it to undergo certain actual physical changes based on what it gets used for. Studies show that music facilitates neuroplasticity and actually changes the way neurons are wired in the brain. Research suggests that musicians tend to have a higher learning capability because playing music strengthens certain nerve connections over time. Another known advantage that musicians tend to have is better motor movement ability than non-musicians. They tend to become faster and more precise in activities that require the use of both hands.

Hearing Colours and Tasting Music – Synesthesia

Did you know for some people music is also something that they can taste? Yes, you read that correct! A brain condition called Synesthesia links a person’s senses together in unusual ways. In the words of Dr Oliver Sacks, the condition is described as  “some excessive connection or abnormal connection between sensory areas which are normally separate.”

One of the effects of it is that people with this condition (called ‘synesthetes’) can taste music or actually ‘see’ music as a stream of colours. Synesthesia is not only limited to music-related senses. For example, some synesthetes can ‘taste colours’ or ‘smell’ them too. 

It is estimated that only about 4 per cent of the human population has this special condition. Some famous synesthete personalities include singers Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, and the famous painter Vincent Van Gogh.  

While there’s no concrete evidence on how one acquires this condition, most doctors and researchers agree that this linking is automatic and happens at a very early age, sometimes even before birth. Another interesting fact about it is that this condition is unique to each synesthete. So it may happen that the same piece of music can taste different to two synesthetes listening to it at the same time! This shows us how subjective experience music is. 

Are we the only ones?

It is a fact that humans are the only species that respond to music in the way that we do. Even though nature has a lot to do with rhythms- the frogs croaking, birds chirping etc, the animal world doesn’t quite understand music entirely the way we do. A  study revealed that monkeys, a species so closely related to us, cannot tap along to music due to certain cognitive limitations. But nature finds its way to surprise us from time to time. A recent study shows that Parrots maybe another species that respond to music in some ways as we do. A youtube video that has a parrot called snowball dancing to Everybody from Backstreet Boys’ has led us to this discovery. Anirudh Patel, an associate professor of Psychology is the man behind this study. Professor Patel states – since parrots too can learn and reproduce complex vocal patterns like us. It could be the reason for why they can also dance to music like us. He states that there’s some special connection between our ability to make complex sounds and the ability to move to a beat, which is quite unique to humans but it seems that Parrots may have it in them too. 

So now that you know about the various links between music and your brain, you may find music that you used to enjoy all this time to feel different or even maybe better than before.  Music is universal to us all and ingrained in our very existence. In a sense, our bodies are our instruments. Our heartbeats are the rhythm of our lives. Right from the lullabies during our infancy to ceremonial music in the funeral procession, music is always around us and it always will be. So go ahead and explore music all over again!

If you liked this article, you may also like:

Music and its Many Genres

Relax! Cool it. Let the music do it.

Convert your love for MUSIC into a flourishing career!

 

About the Author


Generic placeholder image
Charu Verma

Charu, a feminist and an accidental writer, is yet to master the art of writing about herself. Always curious to learn new stuff, she ends up spending a lot of time unlearning the incorrect lessons. She enjoys all sorts of stories – real, fictional, new, old, hers and would love hearing yours too. Feel free to ping her at [email protected] to share anything that you think is worth sharing.

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Comments


manasa

April 20, 2020

I love music but never heard about this fact, thanks byjus for sharing this fact


ATIKSH SHARMA

April 20, 2020

I HATE MUSIC BUT AFTER KNOWING THIS I LOVE MUSIC THANK YOU BYJU’S FOR TELLING THIS.


Agnik Ghosh

April 20, 2020

Is this the Mozart effect


Nirvaira

April 20, 2020

That’s soooo cool


Aiswarya

April 20, 2020

I love music but I didn’t heard about this.thanks
Bijuys I hear more music


Divya

April 20, 2020

I love music . But I didn’t knew about this cool facts.
I love byjus thanks byjus


Aaliya aAshraf

April 20, 2020

I love music


Siddhi

April 20, 2020

I like the fact actually I Love listening music. Thanks for sharing with us


Siddhi

April 20, 2020

I like the fact actually I Love listening music.


Gargi

April 20, 2020

Thanks byjus. Actually I am learning Hindustani classical music since 7-8 years. Playing Harmonium is my hobby either.No doubt music has tremendous capacities for healing and peace.


Bhumi Singh

April 20, 2020

I don’t know this thank you for telling .


Bhumi Singh

April 20, 2020

I love music but I don’t know this thing about music.


Trrishan Saha

April 20, 2020

Wow!


Amardeep

April 20, 2020

I belong to Sikh religion, in our guru granth sahib g all banis
And path teach us how to live our lives with special musical ragas
E.g.rag Assa,rag basant,rag malhar etc.
Know I understand why gurus do so , thanks for exploring


U.yashaswi

April 20, 2020

I love music so much i always feel it


Subhas

April 20, 2020

Thanks


Maana

April 20, 2020

Does music helps in the betterment of your studies???


Praisy

April 20, 2020

PUNGANUR I love music but I don’t no this fact thanks byjus


Rudrajeet

April 20, 2020

That is awesome. I have been listening to music today while studying!


Sai Bhavya raga

April 20, 2020

I love music and thank you byjus for sharing this information


D.Tanmay

April 20, 2020

I love music and after listening it my mind has become peacefully


Disha

April 20, 2020

I love to hear music
I also know about this fact,
thats why i love music
thank you byju’s to tell in detail.


Afifa khan

April 20, 2020

It’s amazing.I have thought about this but can’t explain to my friend.
Thanks Byjus for more about this.


Ankush verma

April 20, 2020

I also like music but some parents like
My parents did not know about this fact
So my parents against to listen music .


Prakhar Rai

April 20, 2020

We feeling better to listen to music


Raghav Shekhar Ganeshkar

April 20, 2020

I love music thanks byjus I love this


Suhani jain

April 20, 2020

I love to sing as well as hear music. But I didnt know this. Do thanks byjus for helping us know this.


Priyam

April 20, 2020

The fact is awesome. Thanks byjus


Mohit Sharma

April 20, 2020

That’s fantastic to listen this music ?


Naveen jangra

April 20, 2020

When we don’t have pinna so we will heated sound or not


Arya meena

April 20, 2020

Music is something that makes you calm ,peaceful and help you to learn better by increasing your concentration.


Akshit

April 20, 2020

Which type of music helps in development of our brain.


Arnavi

April 20, 2020

I love hearing all kinds of music and also English music too. I don’t sing much but when I hear it, I get into that world, which helps me to change my mood. And thank you Byjus for telling us aboutSynesthesia.i really didn’t knew about it


Prakriti Anand

April 20, 2020

I am also actually very interested in music.
Thanks to byjus for telling me about this fact


apeksha maheshwari

April 20, 2020

that was interesting


apeksha maheshwari

April 20, 2020

that was interesting.


Chezhiyan

April 20, 2020

Nice fact about music’s.
Thank you for the information
Byju’s.


Haripriya

April 20, 2020

I too love music…but now I I have understood the fact behind it……Thanks by jus…❤️??


Dhanith krishnan

April 20, 2020

Thanks for your very valuable information byju’s


Sanjana alur

April 20, 2020

Very useful one,Byjus can always be marked for its knowledge


Sanjana alur

April 20, 2020

Byjus can be always marked for its knowledge, it was a very useful one


Gowri Jayan

April 20, 2020

It gives an enthralling beauty.


Abishek

April 20, 2020

I love music and byjus and video


Abishek

April 20, 2020

I love music and video

Thanks byjus


Paayal

April 20, 2020

I want to be a singer…that’s good for everyone


Priyangshu Das

April 20, 2020

I like music very much and also I used to learn music for 8 and a half year. Reading this interesting fact, I became assured that why I had seen a growth in my studies, while I was learning music. Thank u Byju’s for this interesting fact.


Ramya

April 20, 2020

Tq for byjus team for giving this great information. Music is also a best medicine when we feel sad


Tanweer Riaz

April 20, 2020

I love hearing music but never expected that it is so helpful for the body and mind. It really helps to get rid of the stress. Thank You for the advice


Shreya Hiremath

April 20, 2020

Yes, that’s true even I enjoy music a lot. Happy to see something so very intresting… Thankyou for sharing such a beautiful information..


Abigail Nissi

April 20, 2020

Yeah its nice to hear that music affects
Thank for sharing.


JAY 31

April 20, 2020

Wow! The power of music…..??????


Sony Vats

April 20, 2020

Amazing ???


Vallabhi Vats

April 20, 2020

Amazing ??


Vallabhi Vats

April 20, 2020

Super??


Shreyaanshi Sharma

April 20, 2020

I am a music lover from the age of 4.And today BYJU’S has told me this amazing fact.Thanks.


Aditi Sonare

April 20, 2020

I love music but I never know about this fact thank you byjus for this


Nishanth

April 20, 2020

O ilove music and I love playing ?
piano


jesvi maria

April 20, 2020

do someone wants to know someone with speciality?
i do have this
as i have experienced and is experiencing
i can say it is sooo true


Sameer Bhardwaj

April 20, 2020

Music is one of the things I love. I am very happy to read this article; This article motivated me to sing and play music instruments and also gave me an idea; that how I can use these lockdown days to learn something new and wonderful.☺️


Sonali

April 20, 2020

I love music from earlier only but now I like it more.
Thanks byju’s


Sonali

April 20, 2020

I like music but now I like it more.


Aman

April 20, 2020

Osm fact and soooo cool and rock


Aditya

April 20, 2020

I love music thanks for information


S. Hanushka

April 20, 2020

I love music.
I like these cool facts .
I want topic like astronomy and astronaut.
Thank you BYJUS


Srinidhi

April 20, 2020

Music makes me feel relax??


Utkarsh Sengar

April 20, 2020

This was really vital information. I will surely start listening to music thank you byjus


Sachk

April 20, 2020

I just love music now I love very mush


Sampreetha RG

April 20, 2020

Really wonderful, I have also learnt classical music and can relate myself with this article…


Sachika

April 20, 2020

I loved music but I love it very much ??❤️❤️

Thanks for this amazing ? information


Sachika

April 20, 2020

I love music now I love it very much thank you for this important information


Sampreetha RG

April 20, 2020

Really wonderful I have also learnt classical music and can relate myself with this article.


Sayan Manna

April 20, 2020

Everyone likes music right!!


Barira

April 20, 2020

Absolutely right?


SANJAY

April 20, 2020

VERY GOOD INFORMATION BY MUSIC CONNECTION OF BRAIN THANKS BY JUS


SANJAY pathak

April 20, 2020

VERY GOOD INFORMATION BY MUSIC CONNECTION OF BRAIN THANKS BY JUS


Yûvàráj

April 20, 2020

Yes you are right
I agree it ???


Sagar Rawat

April 20, 2020

Hello.
I would like to know that what type of music should a person listen to instrumental or vocal.
Please send links for it.
Thank you.


Shweta

April 20, 2020

I love music very much. Thank u? Byjus for this fact?☺☺


Aamina Rasheed

April 20, 2020

Thank you Byju’s for telling us this wonderful fact.


Aamina Rasheed

April 20, 2020

Thank you Byju’s for telling us about this wonderful fact.


Divya Zambare

April 20, 2020

Music is always pleasant to mind. I enjoy listening music during free or boring time.
Good to know about Synesthesia.
Thank you Byjus.


Mehak

April 20, 2020

I didn’t know about this fact,thank you byjus for letting us know. I love music and I really like K-pop (Korean music) and other genres.


Satyam

April 20, 2020

I learnt a lot today by this article, which i didn’t know.
It was really very interesting for me.
Thank you Byju’s…


Sarthak

April 20, 2020

Yes.This is right


R.grishma

April 20, 2020

I love music which has many emotions to express
Thank you for the interesting article about music
Byjus.
Keep learning and also enjoy the world of music.


Harini

April 20, 2020

Yup! I too love music very much but I didn’t know about this fact .
I am very thankful to byjus to sending this useful interesting fact?


Harini

April 20, 2020

Yup! I love music very much but I didn’t know about this fact .
I am very thankful to byjus for sending this useful interesting fact.?


Madhu

April 20, 2020

I love music but didn’t heard about this.Thank u soo much byju’s.


geethayazhini

April 20, 2020

last two lines of this article, i love the most!! hands off to charu


RAKSHITH

April 20, 2020

Did not notice this fact ever before thank you byjus for our inspiration


Karunya

April 20, 2020

Yes it is correct ???


Jessica Solomon

April 20, 2020

I Love music too and feel passionate about it sometimes feel like singing and becoming a great singer but is that even possible for me!!?


Sanjana

April 20, 2020

Music is a very important part of my life and singing is my passion.??


Nageswar Majhi

April 20, 2020

What type of music may be prefer.


Pushpita

April 20, 2020

First I used to hate music but my friend made me a music lover now


Pushpita

April 20, 2020

BYJUS you re so creative


Aditya

April 21, 2020

Wow our brain has really unlimited secrets.
Very much thanks to byjus for this information and
For Giving me more interest in brain.


Manaswani

April 21, 2020

I love music.


Sri harsha

April 21, 2020

I love ❤music ?


Samadrita sen

April 21, 2020

Very knowledgeable. Thank you byjus…..


bosco kerketta

April 21, 2020

music is a thing of peace


Gurkirat Singh

April 21, 2020

Wonderful article from byjus


Sanskriti Dabhade

April 21, 2020

That’s cool!!


Niharika Khedekar

April 21, 2020

I didn’t loved music as everyone loved but now I started to understand music and even loving it.


Jay Ranjan Pradhan

April 21, 2020

It’s Intresting and Encouraging for us in the mind


Chinmay

April 21, 2020

Exactly


Keerthana Nambiar

April 21, 2020

I love music but I have never heard about such a science fact behind!!! Thanks byjus!!


Deepali

April 21, 2020

These are great ☺️


Nikeeta Raut

April 21, 2020

Music is my guide,
it always helps me in my every mood,
most importantly music is something who have the power to motivate me.


Nikeeta Raut

April 21, 2020

Thank you,byju’s


Deb Chakraborty.

April 21, 2020

I am also playing an instrument called Synthesized.
I am so proud to byjus to give us the lesson,”how the music
help us the develop our mind?”

Thanks a lot of you team Byju’s.


Lakshya tripathi

April 21, 2020

Oh it’s good


Aniket Jakkanwar

April 21, 2020

Yes I am listening binary bites


Divya Bhatia

April 21, 2020

I love music from the deep point of my heart.
Thanks Byjus for telling me about this fact


Charmi

April 21, 2020

I love Carnatic music, and I am quite good at it. I won many awards in it and even they are not fitting in my showcase.?


Jad

April 21, 2020

Any article on anti aging?


Anandika Shukla

April 21, 2020

I love music and I don’t know that it effects on our mind. Thank you byjus for telling about these facts of music


Mahi Jadav

April 21, 2020

Yes


Srinjoyee Mallick

April 21, 2020

I have a great liking for music and listen songs when I am lonely, which makes cheerful…
Thank You Byju’s for sharing the knowledge with us!!!


Gauri

April 21, 2020

Thank you byju’s for sharing with us such
an interesting thing


Smahi kunwar

April 22, 2020

Thanks for sharing this interesting fact to us .I like it.☺️


Ammachar

April 22, 2020

Music makes me relax and sometimes it motivates me….? and thank you byjus for this information …it is amazing ??


J.V.

April 22, 2020

I also love music…singing is my hobby
And I love to hear and sing….??


Poojha

April 22, 2020

Wow??


Pooja V

April 22, 2020

It’s very interesting. Thank you byju’s for the surprising fact about music


Prerna Sinha

April 22, 2020

I love music listening and singing, but
don’t know about this fact thanks byjus


Pragati

April 22, 2020

I love music but never know facts of music thanks for send the fact byzu’s


Pragati

April 22, 2020

Thanks for sending the music fact


Anirudh

April 22, 2020

Thank s


Tejas

April 22, 2020

I really love song thankyou byjus for sending amazing facts


Suhani

April 22, 2020

I also ????


Srijita Moitra

April 23, 2020

I also hearing this fact for the first time, although I love facts.


Rohankumar

April 23, 2020

Accurately you are correct


Mohit gupta

April 23, 2020

I love music but never heard of about these facts thank you by’jus


Pragayn

April 24, 2020

It’s amazing……???


Nehal surve

April 24, 2020

Same with me


Nehal surve

April 24, 2020

Same with me???


Siddesh S Belagavi

April 25, 2020

What are you talking about is this true.WOW


Ashok

April 26, 2020

I like music but I am not free to listen it. But now I will spend time on it.


Ashok

April 26, 2020

I like music but after knowing it’s pact i am became fan of it


Guru Yogesh

April 27, 2020

I love music .when I hear music I will dance.I also love dance. Thanks Byju’s to sending this message.


Iqra Aiman

April 27, 2020

Thanks BYJUS for this interesting information ?


Himanshu Mittal

April 29, 2020

I also


KH. Ariyan Bhardwaz

April 29, 2020

truely music is something very AUSPICIOUS!


Vansh

April 29, 2020

Yes,music help us mind to concentrate..


Bhadra p varma

May 1, 2020

For me music is my soul.. though I can’t sing I am a music aspirant..
it can change the melancholy mood to more energetic and positive..
thanks humus and Charu verma for bringing up such a wonderful writing..
it has made my day bright..


Kanika Maheshwari

May 2, 2020

I love music.
Infact I play the keyboard


Pavithra

May 2, 2020

I love to hear music.
Thank you byju’s for this fantastic fact.


Isha Verma

May 4, 2020

Wow! Music ❤
I think I saw someone having this condition ‘Synesthesia’. He can’t hear but dance on music that’s been played for him.
I am not sure! Though it was a reality show.


Shruti

May 4, 2020

Amazing byju’s thanku very much for this message


Gaurav verma

May 5, 2020

Good article with lots of knowledge and facts.


Gargi M Kulkarni

May 7, 2020

To start new STD BYJU please help


sivarenjini

May 7, 2020

I love Music very much its just surprising for me after hearing this fact, Thanks to Byjus for sharing


Srijan

May 8, 2020

Thanks Byju’s for great information. I am going to listen soft and mind blowing songs.In my opinion factteckz scientific beats in play store.


Asin Madona Saiju

May 10, 2020

super


Swara parikh

May 11, 2020

The information was very useful
Thank you


Aksh

May 11, 2020

It is very helpful to me. Before reading this I was not too much interested in music ,but from now onwards I will be .so thankyou byjus for this thank you very much ???


Sharon Varghese

May 12, 2020

I love music ♥️ and I have many music to listen to it and I too have synesthesia ?


Atulya singh

May 15, 2020

Very correct


Sri harsha

May 25, 2020

I love music so much. I am learning ? music since 2 years. I have not heard about this fact.


Sri harsha

May 25, 2020

I love music so much. Thanks byjus for this amazing article.


ปั๊มไลค์

May 27, 2020

Like!! I blog quite often and I genuinely thank you for your information. The article has truly peaked my interest.


Bhavya

June 9, 2020

Thank you byjus for this wonderful information


Samira. S

June 14, 2020

❤️❤️❤️


Ashu

June 24, 2020

Absolutely correct


MITUL

July 27, 2020

Yes you were right,I tried to write homework with music and it’s very nice ??


Sirisha

August 11, 2020

Thanks to byjus for this fact


Akshaya Singh

September 9, 2020

It looks so interesting


Jatin

September 10, 2020

Thank you byjus for the fact of music ?


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