Music is a higher revelation
than all wisdom and philosophy. Music is the electrical
soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents.
-Ludwig Van Beethoven
|A large body of empirical evidence
exists regarding connections between music and the mind
and body. With music as the bridge between art and science,
here are a few highlights from biomedical, neurophysiological,
psychological, and educational research:
Music has been associated with the production of various
brain wave states.
When listening to and participating in music, there is
a positive chemical change in the brain as endorphins
Music and pain are processed along the same neural pathways.
Stronger stimuli may diminish the intensity of the weaker
stimuli. Music can reduce levels of sympathetic nervous
system arousal, changing a patients perception of
pain and reducing sensory deprivation.
Music therapy has been proven to improve respiration,
lower blood pressure, improve cardiac output, reduce heart
rate, and relax muscle tension.
Music therapy can help relieve pain, reduce stress and
anxiety, promote relaxation, influence mood, and stimulate
Sound may vibrate some part of the body that requires
Group drumming has been correlated to demonstrated statistically
significant positive cell-mediated immune system changes.
Music isn't only an ancient social phenomenon; it also
has a biological and neurological basis. It is hypothesized
that music is hard-wired into the human brain and that
it has existed from the early days of humankind, possibly
even predating language.
Music can actively integrate mind and body, affecting
emotional response, movement and sensory input. This results
in the modification of neurological pathways in the brain,
facilitating changes in behavior. A change in ones
nervous system directly affects the ability to learn,
adapt and grow.
Music stimulates all of the senses and involves individuals
at many levels, which facilitates developmental skills.
In the first years of life, the brain is undergoing rapid
physical development. Studies show participation in music
can positively influence that process, with ramifications
that last a lifetime.
When children begin school, the development of their mental
capacities continues, while they begin to experience larger
social interactions and the demands of schoolwork. Music
can play an important role in this stage of life.
Kids who study music are higher academic achievers in
proportional math and fractions, language arts/reading/verbal
skills, science, and spatial-temporal (logic/problem-solving)
skills. They also have higher self-esteem, stronger emotional
health, and better social, leadership and presentation
The link between music and brain function persists throughout
adult life. Even when the brain stops growing, it never
stops learning; and when injury strikes, music can help
on the road to recovery.
Active music making has been correlated with measurable
improvements in immune system function and overall human
well-beingespecially in older people. Loneliness,
depression and even the effects of Alzheimers Disease
have been shown to respond positively to music.
The brain processes music in both hemispheres and can
therefore stimulate cognitive functioning and remediation
of speech/language skills.
Music is highly motivating (stimulative),
yet it is also calming and relaxing (sedative).
Many parallels exist between speech and singing; rhythm
and motor behavior; musical mnemonics and note memorization;
and overall ability of preferred music to enhance mood,
attention and behavior to optimize an individuals
ability to learn and interact.
New research shows that musicians’ brains are highly developed
in a way that makes the musicians alert, interested in
learning, disposed to see the whole picture, calm, and
For further information on music research as it relates
to the mind and body, visit the Links