5 Amazing Reasons Music is the Best Gift To Humans
Have you ever watched a full movie without any music in it? I’d bet you haven’t. I don’t think there are filmmakers in their right mind who would do that.
Horror movies are twice as scary because aside from the sound effects, there is this creepy music in the background while the villain is slowly walking to the unknowing victim.
Sad movies make us sadder because of the songs that play when the actors cry.
But there is more to music than making films more exciting. Over and over again, authors have written about the several benefits of music.
Which is why the more I get old, the more I believe music is the best gift for us. And it is what I am sharing with you in this article.
This article is divided into two parts. In part one, I will enumerate the benefits of listening to music. In part two, I will list down tips and how-tos to get the most out of it. Plus, there’s a bonus part of how you can download music for free.
Reason 1: Music Enhances Brain Function
There have been studies that show music has an effect on a child’s cognitive function, especially the spatial reasoning as evidenced by a study conducted in 1993.
This is the phenomenon that inspired the Mozart effect. It claims that classical music and the brain are BFFs, making the latter work better with the help of Mozart’s and his friends’ compositions.
I’m sorry to burst your bubble though, but the Mozart effect has been debunked several times.
Yes, there was a study that showed how adults (not children), fared better in a spatial test after listening to Mozart’s piece for about ten minutes. But some studies that followed proved that it could be any musical piece, probably as long as the one listening enjoys it.
But don’t give up yet. Just because the Mozart effect has been considered an unreliable way of making your child smarter doesn’t mean that music does not have an effect on our cognitive development.
Music and The Brain
1./ Music Enhances Memory
Chan and her colleagues concluded in their 1998 study that adults who underwent musical training before they were 12 years old have bigger left planum temporale region compared to those who didn’t.
For the sake of the non-scientific in us, I would like to explain that this region mainly mediates the verbal memory.
This could mean that those who were trained musically may have a better memory for spoken words than those who weren’t.
This study was conducted again in 2003 and proved that verbal memory in children with musical training is indeed better than non-musicians. This means that those who had musical training as a kid can memorize words more easily and remember them longer.
Could this be why some people study with music in their background? Maybe.
Also, I think it is easier for us to learn a new word or even concepts if we sing about it. See the ever-famous ABC song. A lot of kids can sing it from the heart without even realizing that they've memorized 26 different alphabets already.
2./ Music Assists in Language Learning
In another study, Moreno et al. concluded that 8-year olds who were exposed to music training for six months fared better in pitch processing in speech and reading.
This could be a result of the possibility that when a child had musical training, the part of the brain that is in charge of music perception affects the auditory mechanism that affects reading, which also affects phonological awareness somehow.
I presume that as a result of music training, which helps learners distinguish different sounds, their phonemic awareness is improved as well. This is because to distinguish different phonemes, one has to know which sound is which.
For example, the /a/ in back and bake sound different. Young learners may be able to distinguish this difference earlier if they are exposed to musical training.
I also presume that those who were musically trained fare better in reading because music training requires one to read different musical symbols such as notes; this training may have helped their eyes and brain read various language symbols as well.
3./ Music Helps Other Cognitive Functions
Aside from reading, speech, and memory, music training also has an impact on our achievement in non-verbal reasoning, visual-motor integration task, and math. Not all research results, however, have matched up on the last one. But, I’m mentioning them nonetheless.
Non-verbal reasoning primarily based on Raven’s Progressive Matrices measures what some refer to the as the fluid intelligence. RPM is a type of test where you’re shown a set of image then you have to guess what image comes next. Side note: I fail those tests. Should have listened to music more before taking it.
According to a study, children who had music training fared better in this test compared to the ones who didn’t have a music background at all.
Visual motor integration refers to the coordination of our eyes and hands. Those who are trained musically, particularly in any musical instruments, have better hand-eye coordination.
I think it is no question as learning an instrument requires excellent communication between the eyes and hand; otherwise, wrong tunes will come out.
Although these studies concluded that music has a significant impact on our brain functions, more specifically the cognitive aspect, note that it is not merely passive listening to music that engendered this. Instead, it is the active participation through training.
So if you want your kids to perform better in school, why not enroll them in a music school. It won't hurt to try.
If your child does not do better, the lessons learned in the music class won’t go to waste. Your child could be the next Mozart we have been waiting for.
So ditch that audio you have been playing over and over again to give your child a higher IQ. Instead, start looking for a music class and start saving up for it.
Reason 2: Music Improves Health
Have you ever wondered why when we listen to music with loud low frequencies, called the bass, we can feel our heart thumping as well?
That is because music affects heart rate and, consequently, blood pressure. And when our blood pressure is optimal, it results in a healthier wellbeing.
Music and Health
1./ Music Reduces Stress
Although some people enjoy stressors because they are driven by it, all of us probably know that stress causes several health problems and ultimately death.
Listening to the music you prefer on the times you feel like exploding helps you calm down. At times, it can even make you happier.
And when we are happy, we are more likely to experience some health benefits. Although science has not fully understood how this happens, it is probably safe to assume that when our mind is happy, our body is laughing as well.
Hence, music and mental health may be two interdependent entities.
2./ Music Induces Sleep
People who have trouble sleeping are the ones you don’t want to mess with. They are often moody, irate, and impatient. I know because I have been one myself.
Also, sleep deprived people are at risk of several ugly consequences of lack of sleep.
To combat this, listen to a certain type of music that helps you reach the dreamland quick and easy.
Sleep induction through the use of binaural beats is a topic that has been buzzing around the insomniac community.
Binaural beats use a method that alters the process in your brain so that its brainwaves will be in the alpha state, causing you to sleep. Sci-fi as it sounds, but there have been studies that say it works.
3./ Music Helps Us Workout
Exercising is probably one of the most commonly mentioned to-do item every January 1st, only to drop it a few weeks or even days later.
Personally, aside from lacking enough time to do it, I think I no longer have the energy to flex my muscles. I get tired easily.
But that was before I read about how music affects our energy when we work out.
Music, when chosen correctly, can help us endure the exercise routines for these reasons.
- First, it provides a distraction. Fifteen minutes into running, I start panting and feeling all the leg pain. But when I listen to my workout songs, I tend to ignore what I feel because I focus instead on the beat and rhythm (or lyrics) of the song.
- Second, it fires you up. Listening to the proper song with appropriate beats per minute can surely get you going. But if you’re into different workout routines, note that there are different tempos to back you for each type of activity.
- Third, it soothes you. Cooling down after an intense movement can leave you huffing and puffing. Listening to music with the correct rhythm will help you recover and decrease the rating of perceived exertion (RPE).
Music is powerful that can both wake us up or send us to dreamland when used properly.
So note that when creating a playlist for health improvement, be mindful of the beat and tempos of the songs you are choosing. You won’t play a Metallica to induce sleep, will you?
Reason 3: Music Boosts Productivity
“Work, work, work, work, work,” sings Rihanna. This song that seems to be a casual expression of what one feels has now a sublime message of nudging you to work while listening to music.
And this dual tasking is not to be questioned. There is a study done to show that listening to music while working increases production by approx 7%.
Music and Productivity in The Workplace
1./ Music Kills Boredom
When you’ve been in your company for years, doing the same tasks for years, seeing the same people for years, your environment starts to get boring. And when you're bored, you begin looking for another dingus just to get you out of that deadliness.
Listening to your song instantly kills that. Your head may start banging, lips start singing, and entire body starts dancing. The result? Dopamine release.
The more dopamine we have activated, the better our mood is; hence, we get better ideas and accomplish our tasks faster.
2./ Music Contributes to our Focus
Indistinct chatter in a workplace causes our brain to get distracted. The words we hear but cannot understand are what prod our brain to try to decode what our colleagues are saying, resulting in divided attention.
Music, especially one without lyrics, can help drown out this sound so we can focus on what matters at that moment.
3./ Music Fosters Creativity
A study was conducted to investigate the effect of noise on creativity. Three types of sound were observed: high, moderate, and low. Results indicate that moderate noise, about 70 decibels, has better effects regarding creative performance compared to low noise.
High noise, on the other hand, is dangerous for creativity.
A higher level of noise, such as moderate and high noise, increases the processing disfluency also known as the speed of processing information.
However, because high levels also create more distraction, this then means that the brain’s ability to be creative is also hampered. Which is why the moderate level or ambient noise is what's considered effective in fostering creativity.
Using music to boost production, however, should be used with caution. Although listening to music while working improves job satisfaction and productivity, there are still situations you have to avoid doing it.
If you are new to your task, you need a quiet environment as much as possible. Also, try not to use an unfamiliar music. Our brain’s tendency is to understand the words and remember the rhythm, causing a split attention.
Lastly, try to figure out your working preferences. If you think you’re the type of person who easily gets distracted, then do not to listen to any music while working at all.
Reason 4: Music Affects Our Taste Buds
If getting a cup of joe is what pushes you to work every morning, but you are at the same time injecting insulin into your body, there may be some hope for you.
Sometime in the future, you may be able to enjoy your favorite coffee without worrying about the sugar content, thanks to high-frequency music.
And it’s not just sugar. Music or any appropriate sound can enhance our eating experience simply by having it played in the background.
That's good news for people who want to enjoy the rich taste without adding ingredients that also put on rich fat all over the body. Here’s how it works.
1./ Sense of Hearing Affects Sense of Taste
All of our senses affect how we perceive the taste of a particular food. Our vision is perhaps one of the most crucial, which is why chefs spend a lot of time and money on making dishes look palatable.
Our sense of smell is probably the next sensory faculty that determines whether food is delicious or not. If it smells good, it probably tastes good.
The somatosensory system is feasibly the penultimate indicator that what’s on the plate will be tasty. But what about the auditory organ? Doesn’t it have an effect on what our food will taste like?
Recent studies have started focusing on this question, and it seems to me that music has indeed a significant impact on how we taste (or at least perceive the taste of) food.
Crossmodal influence. This means that what one of our organs perceive affect how the other sees (in this sense, taste) it. A good example is a sight-taste influence.
A study tried to explain how the background music affects the participants’ perception of the wine they’re drinking, and it concluded that different music had various effects on how one tastes the wine.
Drinking the same wine but playing different music in the background changed the participants’ description of the wine from “powerful and heavy” to “mellow and soft,” depending on the type of music they were listening to at that moment.
2./ Music can be Attracting or Distracting
Wonder why clubs play loud music? It’s not only because they want you to shake a leg; it’s also because they want you to drink and eat more as well.
A study tried to explain why people tend to consume more alcohol when exposed to loud music, and it found out that it could be due to the “arousal hypothesis.”
Hearing loud noises stresses auditory nerves, which signals the brain to look for a distraction. And drinking alcohol is the easiest way to distract the ears.
Note, however, that drinking more does not necessarily mean we like the alcohol’s taste. This theory just shows that music can cause our taste buds to look for more when our ears are stressed.
On a different story, have you noticed the exaggerated crunch on TV ads promoting the product’s crunchiness?
That’s because what we hear helps paint the picture of how one food tastes like. When we see a cracker that looks crunchy then we hear its loud, cracking sound, our brain assumes it is indeed crunchy.
This picture then attracts our taste buds to try and confirm this crunchiness.
Although still open to question, using music to enhance taste is not far from reality. If other senses can help confirm or repudiate what a chuck tastes like, I’m pretty sure what we hear can do these as well.
Reason 5: Music can Speed Up Recovery
Music therapy has been buzzing around the health community, and rightfully so, due to its benefits especially to patients who underwent surgery and are on their way to recovery.
It is no doubt that music affects us mentally and emotionally that is why it is the first thing we run to when we break our hearts. We have the breakup playlist, so to speak.
But aside from “fixing a broken heart,” music can also help us recover from other physical and psychological illnesses.
1./ What is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is a type of treatment through the use of the different elements of music. Just like how physical therapists use different stretches and exercises to heal their patients’ physical ailments, music therapists use music—beat, rhythm, words, etc.
2./ How does Music Therapy Work?
There are two types of intervention methods used in music therapy: active and receptive.
A./ Active is when the patient participates in creating music either by singing, composing, or playing an instrument.
This method is good for patients having difficulty communicating after having a stroke or something similar. The music therapists can help them sing familiar songs, which will eventually lead to enhanced speech production and fluency.
For those patients whose motor skills are challenged, the active technique is also applicable. They can play simple melodies or beats on any instrument, which may result in coordinated and timed movements.
B./ Passive or receptive participation, on the other hand, is when the patient merely listens or dances to the song. Sometimes, it can also be through lyrics analysis.
Music therapy for autism usually incorporates the passive technique. The therapists ask students to listen to a song then let them imagine the emotional state of the composer in the music. This method helps the patients develop a sense of considering others' emotions.
Sometimes, music therapy incorporates both active and receptive techniques depending on the patients’ needs.
Although music is highly considered significant in one’s recovery, music therapy should not be used independently of other medical treatments.
Also, not all individuals may find it therapeutic; hence, be careful not to apply music therapy, especially if you don’t have a music therapy degree.
Other Websites Talk About Benifits of Music
Nature Research is the home of of high impact scientific and medical information in print and online. The Nature Research portfolio includes journals, online databases, and services across the life, physical, chemical and applied sciences and clinical medicine.
Agnes S. Chan, Yim-Chi Ho & Mei-Chun Cheung (Department of Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, China): "Here we show that adults who received music training before the age of 12 have a better memory for spoken words than those who did not. Music training in childhood may therefore have long-term positive effects on verbal memory." Read more
WebMD has created an organization that we believe fulfills the promise of health information on the Internet. We provide credible information, supportive communities, and in-depth reference material about health subjects that matter to you. We are a source for original and timely health information as well as material from well known content providers.
Camille Peri: "You know lack of sleep can make you grumpy and foggy. You may not know what it can do to your sex life, memory, health, looks, and even ability to lose weight". Read more
Ravi Mehta, Rui (Juliet) Zhu, and Amar Cheema: "Process measures reveal that a moderate (vs. low) level of noise increases processing difficulty, inducing a higher construal level and thus promoting abstract processing, which subsequently leads to higher creativity". Read more
SAGE is the world's 5th largest journals publisher. Our portfolio includes more than 1000 journals spanning the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Science, Technology, and Medicine, and more than 400 are published on behalf of learned societies and institutions.
Nicolas Guéguen, Le Guellec Hélène Céline Jacob: "Analysis showed that a higher sound level than usual was associated with consuming more drinks". Read more
Dr. Mary Williams, R.N., D.C is a Doctor of Chiropractic with an extensive background as a Registered Nurse and experienced Core Instructor for the American Heart Association. She has over 30 years of hands-on medical and instructional experience.
Dr. Mary Williams: "The beauty of music therapy is that it helps people in a physical, mental, emotional and social way". Read more
1./ How to Listen to Music
Given all the amazing reasons music can benefit us, it is not enough for you to just sit there and continue listening to music the way you have always done.
Take these good and bad ways of listening to music by heart then you can enjoy the full benefits of listening to it.
1. Get the Right Audio Device
Music, no matter how beautifully sang and high-technologically recorded, when listened to from a crappy device, creates a crappy sound.
Any song, despite its audiophile quality, will sound bad if it comes from a device that’s not carefully woven for quality listening.
Start by getting high-quality headphones or decent sound bar. If you’re a vintage lover, look for high-quality turntables. This way, you are assured you’re getting hold of the highest audio quality possible.
2. Upgrade Your Room
You don’t have to call Ty Pennington from Extreme Makeover to upgrade your listening space (although that would be interesting!).
You can start with simple modifications that can create a big impact on the sound you hear, especially when using loudspeakers.
- Room acoustics. What you see in the room where you listen to music have more or less an effect on how you hear sounds. Some of it reflect, absorb, or diffuse sounds.
Too much of any of these creates imbalance, which results in less audio quality, particularly when it comes to the lyrics.
- Room size. How big your room is combined with how loud your speakers can be is a crucial consideration, no doubt. You can’t use teeny tiny Bluetooth speakers in a cinema, can you?
Although we can't really have full control over how big our rooms should be as our parents decide on most of them, we can at least adjust the speaker power and placement accordingly.
3. Use DAC and Amplifier
Digital audio, albeit recorded in the highest bitrate possible, still won’t be able to hold a candle to an analog recording (agree on audiophiles?).
But you won’t bring a record player with you in the office, would you? Using a digital-analog converter and an amplifier can solve this problem. Through its audio-enhancing features, you can enjoy the bliss of analog music anywhere you go.
The downside, however, is the extra gadget you have to carry around with you, which may seem bulky especially if you have small hands like me.
4. Choose the Appropriate Volume
Decibels of more than 85 is harmful to our ears, hence should be limited or altogether avoided. Common examples of these are squeeze toys, arc welder, and jackhammer.
If you are listening at 85 dB, equivalent to the sound of a passing diesel engine, it should be limited to eight hours per day only. Beyond that, our listening ability may slowly start to dwindle.
5. Create Playlists
Having a determined list of songs we can listen to at a particular moment lessens our need to press skip several times and for our brain to decode what the unfamiliar song is implying.
This is particularly helpful when we are concentrating on something or trying to motivate ourselves to do something.
Speaking of which, the following are steps to create a playlist for working out and studying.
2./ How to Create Playlist of the Best Music for Workout
1. Identify Your Workout Routines
As mentioned above, each activity from pre to post workout requires music with a different beat.
Also, make sure that your activities are according to American Heart Association’s recommendations. It’s not impressive (especially if you’re showing off) to call 911 in the middle of your workout.
So list down what you want to accomplish on that certain day first.
2. Identify Your Target Heart Rate
Once you have listed your routine, your next step is to know how many workouts you can do.
Start off with knowing your resting heart rate. The best time to do that is upon waking up from a good night’s sleep because it means you are well rested.
Using the tips of your index and middle fingers, feel the light beating of your pulse in your other hand’s wrist.
Count the number beats for 10 seconds and multiply it by 6.
Repeat the same steps when you are already making some movements. This will determine your target heart rate. You may also check AHA’s guidelines.
3. Determine Your Song’s BPM
Using the list from Step 1 above, identify songs that match the required beat of each exercise. You may check BPM charts.
Then find a site that enlists the BPM of each song.
4. Select Music for the Workout
Once you know your workout routine and the BPM of the songs, pick ones you want to listen to, arrange them according to the BPM, and enjoy your workout.
3./ How to Pick the Best Music for Studying
1. Plan it out
Include in your planning the duration. If you have a lot of time, create a playlist that lasts for at least 30 minutes. It can also stand as the signal that you’re supposed to take a break.
2. Include Classical Music
Although classical music for studying will not actually get you a perfect score in your test, its relaxing benefits help you forget the craziness of this world and focus on what you are reading. This results in more information absorption.
3. Watch Out for Tempos
Guess what songs with beats more than 90 per minute can do to you? Yes. It makes you want to move and shake all your bon-bon for some reason.
But since dancing is not your purpose for this playlist, include only music with beats approx. 60 per minute.
4. Choose Instrumental
The words in a song are powerful, but when studying, they can be distracting. Instrumental, on the other hand, removes the lyrics altogether; hence, there’s less distraction for you.
5. Avoid Binaural Beats
Dozing off in the middle of studying is the worst thing you can do to your academic career. OK. That’s an exaggeration. But we both know you’re supposed to stay awake.
Binaural beats are sure to send you to dreamland in no time, so don’t include it in your study playlist by hook or by crook.
4./ How to Download Free Music
The good news is that there is a way where you can download mp3 for free.
What you need:
- Browser with Java™
- YouTube access
How to download mp3 for free
- Open your browser with Java™.
- Go to YouTube.
- Find the song you want to download.
- Copy the URL.
- Open keepvid.com on a separate tab.
- Paste the song’s URL on the address bar on keepvid.
- Click download.
- Wait for the results.
- Choose from the options under “Audio Only.”
- Download and enjoy.
This option may not give you the highest quality possible, but it’s free. And that’s all that matters.
If you want, however, higher bitrates subscribe to music apps. Some of them include a free trial.
Music, indeed, has several benefits for us humans. It can make us sing and dance; it can heal us; it can empower us; it can make us more productive. But just like any other tool given to us, it can work for or against us, depending on how we use it.
Knowing how to listen to music properly is the key to let us luxuriate in these amazing musical breakthroughs.