Why should you learn music? Read about the many benefits of learning music and listening to music and learn about the best place to study music.
Besides giving you the opportunity to choose a career in music and become a successful indie music artist or singer-songwriter, can listening to and learning music help you think better?
The research says yes, you can boost your brainpower with music. So what’s the connection between music and the brain?
Music has been shown to improve memory, increase focus and concentration, and boost problem-solving skills in kids and there are many benefits of learning music for both kids and adults.
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The benefits of learning music for kids
Research on music and the brain shows that you can increase your brain power if you listen to the right type of music. Music can help improve cognitive function, improve memory and motor skills for children in special classes.
One study showed that children who were exposed to music had better spatial-temporal reasoning skills than those who weren’t exposed to music, and were better able to solve problems that required them to think about space and time.
Music helps strengthens non-musical functions such as communication skills and physical coordination skills required for daily life.
So, if you’re looking for a way to improve your child’s cognitive function, memory, or problem-solving skills, learning to play a musical instrument may be the answer.
And, if you have children who need extra help in these areas, enrolling them in music classes may be the best thing you can do for them.
Music helps promote creativity and problem-solving skills. Listening to music and playing a musical instrument can build new neural pathways in your brain that stimulate creativity.
Music also trains the brain for higher forms of thinking. In fact, one study showed that children who learn to play a musical instrument had increased intelligence scores compared to those who didn’t learn an instrument.
An article in Newsweek reported on a study from the University of California. In the study, researchers followed the progress of three-year-olds, split into two groups.
The first group had no particular training in or exposure to music. The second group studied piano and sang daily in chorus.
After eight months the musical three-year-olds were much better at solving puzzles, and when tested, scored 80% higher in spatial intelligence than the non-musical group.
Another study on music and the brain, done at UC Irvine’s Center for Neurobiology of Learning and Memory involved 36 students. They were given three spatial reasoning tests on a standard IQ test.
Just before the first test, they listened to Mozart’s sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K. 448 for ten minutes. Before the second test, they listened to a relaxation tape. Before the third, they sat in silence.
The average scores for all 36 students:
- 1st test: 119
- 2nd test: 111
- 3rd test: 110
That’s an average increase of nine IQ points from listening to Mozart. It’s assumed that their intelligence didn’t increase, but that the music put them in a state that gave them better access to the resources of their brains.
However, other studies do show that repeated exposure to slow music can permanently increase your IQ, and it is doubtful that Mozart will harm you, so why wait for more research to be done on music and the brain? Just play that Mozart!
How to get your child interested in learning music
Music provides an outlet for the safe expression of feelings and emotions and can serve as an important learning tool throughout your children’s lives. Here’s how you can successfully and gently introduce music into your children’s life:
- Allow them the opportunity to select an instrument they are interested in. Even if that instrument is something you consider too large or incompatible for them. Be willing to let your children make their own decisions and encourage them when they do.
- Play different music genres in the home whenever your children are around. Turn on the radio and the TV, and make a point to try and play something different every day.
- Children can learn through music. Teach your children how to sing songs. You can use songs to teach numbers, the alphabet, and even help develop basic memory skills.
- Help your children make up their own songs. This will encourage them to use their natural creativity and talent.
- Hum a tune with your child. Praise them when they try something a little different.
- Consider taking your children to age-appropriate concerts. There are many concerts specifically designed with children in mind, chock full of songs and beats that will entertain and delight even the youngest of children.
Music is an important part of your child’s developmental process. Children who are involved in activities such as band or other musical outlets are less likely to get involved in problematic behaviors and dangerous after-school activities.
Music makes the world a happier place. By introducing your children to music while they are still young, you will ultimately improve their lives and their appreciation of the world in many ways.
Brain wave entrainment
Your brain wave frequencies vary according to the state you are in. For example, daydreaming and meditation usually take place in the “Alpha” range of frequencies.
Alert concentration is in the “Beta” range. “Brain wave entrainment” products have beats embedded in music that your brain starts to follow.
If you listen to music containing beats at a frequency of 10 Hz (in the Alpha range) it will feel very relaxing. This is because your brain will begin to follow this frequency and reproduce the rhythm in the music.
You’ll generate more brain waves at a 10 Hz frequency and enter a relaxed Alpha mental state. This is the idea behind brain wave entrainment. Some products use the raw “binaural beats” as they are sometimes called, embedded in white noise, or in sounds of nature.
I’ve used these products and find them to be pretty powerful, especially the ones used for mental and physical relaxation.
This free Silva Ultramind Masterclass is designed to get you into that elusive alpha state of mind where creativity, intuition, and self-healing happen at an accelerated rate.
Music can help you fall asleep
One of the most natural remedies for insomnia caused by noise is actually more noise. That might seem difficult to believe, but it’s important to understand that the noise that you might need to sleep is specially prepared just for that purpose.
Studies have shown that certain sounds enhance the desire to sleep in people. The sounds might differ from person to person but in general, they fall into several different categories.
These sounds are then transferred onto a recording device and a consumer who is suffering from insomnia can purchase them. They are often referred to as sound machines or even noise machines.
The premise is that if a person hears particular sounds that are soothing to the body, it will help them drift off to sleep. Common sounds that are available are sounds of nature which many include birds chirping or water running.
Another category of sound that helps many people beat their insomnia is certain types of music. The music is designed to be relaxing and it’s often repetitive, so the sleeper falls into a deep state of relaxation which ultimately leads to sleep.
Many companies have developed MP3 audios like the Sleep Salon Brainwave Entrainment that you can purchase to help treat insomnia through music or recorded sounds.
Music as a form of therapy
Music is often used as a form of therapy to provide stress relief and treat people with anxiety disorders, among other mental conditions. Nowadays, it is more formally known as music therapy.
The idea of this form of therapy is at least as old as the writings of Aristotle. It was administered back during World Wars 1 and 2 when community musicians visit hospitals to play for physically and emotionally traumatized soldiers.
Simply put, music therapy is the use of music by a trained professional to achieve therapeutic goals. These therapeutic goals may include: promoting wellness, managing stress, alleviating pain, expressing feelings, enhancing memory, improving communication, and promoting physical rehabilitation.
Studies have shown that listening to music during an anxiety attack may calm the person down and relax the sufferer. This is most true with patients experiencing anxiety prior to undergoing surgery. It is the most easily administered, inexpensive, non-invasive, non-threatening tool to calm preoperative anxiety.
Music is an incredibly powerful form of expression. It brings together words and melody to get a message across. Some songs may trigger memories, happy or sad, in your mind.
This is the strongest proof that music and human emotions are interconnected. Giving depressed patients an outlet through music is the best way for sufferers to, little by little, release the cause of their depression, and it alleviates patients’ moods too.
Healthy individuals can use music therapy as a form of stress relief through active music-making. This includes drumming, using the guitar to make music. You can study music online and become a successful musician, singer, songwriter, or independent artist.
The passive approach requires listening for relaxation. Music is also used as accompaniment during exercise. Music, then and now, has been very helpful for everyday living.
From the primitive caveman to the modern scientists, everybody would agree in saying music is indeed the food for the soul, and in therapy, for the body as well.