Today we cannot imagine our lives without music, because it is everywhere – we wake up with music as our alarm clock, we are listening to music at work or at home while doing homework and houseworks, we are listening to powerful workout music at the gym or outdoors, we attend different concerts and festivals, as well as listening to music before going to sleep. In one word, music accompanies us throughout the day. Only few of us have wondered about effects of music on our bodies and minds, but actually it is surprisingly powerful – it directly affects our behaviour, feelings and thinking.
The effect of music on the body and mind depends on its genre, but it is important whether or not we like the song as well. For example, those, who prefer aggressive music, will not like romantic ballads, and vice versa. Despite our musical tastes, let’s see some things which occur in our bodies and minds every time we push “play” on our music players.
Music improves mood
Listening of happy and uplifting music can actually cheer us. Many researches have proved that listening of upbeat music improves mood, but it works only then, when we have a desire to be happy, namely, people without feeling an urge to be happy do not see any changes in their mood during listening to the upbeat music. Basing on these researches, we can say that listening of positive music can be an effective way to improve our happiness, especially when it is combined with a desire to become happier. Other researches show that dopamine (neurochemical substance which creates feeling of happiness) is released during listening of music.
Music improves results of work
Some researches have proved that listening of Mozart’s music improves scores of standardized tests. However, not only classical music has this incredible effect – people, who are exposed to music of any genre, perform better at spatial tasks than those, who are not listening to music. Of course, it is not that simple – to improve your work, you have to enjoy the music which you are listening to. If we hate classical music, there will not be any effect. In order to improve your work you have to listen your favourite music.
Music recalls certain memories
It seems that everyone knows that feeling when we are listening to music and see vivid flashbacks. It is proved that music can support the recall of memories and even formation of new memories. Listening of enjoyable music releases dopamine in the mesolimbic pathway which supports the formation of associations and thus memories. Listening of music helps to improve the working memory too. Researches show that musicians comparing to non-musicians are much better on standardized tests of visual, phonological and executive memory.
Music makes the skin crawl
When a song goes in unexpected direction, for example, with a key change, we may experience some physical sensations on our skin – so called skin orgasms or goosebumps which is familiar feeling for a lot of people.
Music helps to exercise longer and harder
A lot of people are listening to music while they do sports at gym or outdoors. Majority of them are listening to music, because they just like it, but actually music helps to work longer and harder, increasing physical capacity and improving performance. Carefully selected music, for example, special workout playlist has performance-enhancing benefits which can be clearly seen during exercises of high-intensity. It is believed that music with a tempo of 180 beats per minute is best for running.
Music affects blood pressure
Our blood pressure can fall or rise, depending on the music we are listening to. There are researches which show that listening of classical music can decrease blood pressure and lower the heart rate, despite person’s musical taste, while fast and dynamic music does not have an effect on blood pressure or slightly increases it.