THE RHYTHM OF LIFE

 “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything”

                                     –Plato

As the above quote rightly says, it is important for us to listen to music as it provides a well needed respite from the mundane routines of our daily lives. Music has played its part in our cultural history. It has been used as a slogan for peace, an anthem for a cultural revolution and even as inspiration for new technologies to emerge. But music also has many effects biologically as well. You would be surprised to hear about the numerous effects that music has on us biologically and emotionally. Here are some of the most amazing things about music that you probably would not know about:

  1. Music can reveal our personality traits.

Although this seems to be common knowledge, the reason why our entire personality can be determined from just the music we listen to is characteristically complex. In a study conducted by researchers at Heriot-Watt University, volunteers were asked to rate their favourite styles of music out of 104 musical styles and then taking a test based on the five aspects of personality. More than 35,000 people participated in the test and the results were staggering.

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It was seen that almost 86% of volunteers had high self-esteem and were very creative. Most of the volunteers had been fans of classical, opera, reggae, rock, Bollywood and so on. Besides this, they were seen to be outgoing, at ease and more likely to be open to new experiences. The result of the study is as follows:

Those who listened to genres such as blues, jazz, rock, Bollywood, dance music,etc had high self-esteem and were very creative. They were more at ease with themselves and more open to new experiences than people who didn’t necessarily listen to those genres.

People who listened to reggae were creative but didn’t have the confidence they needed to express themselves. All these traits connected to music can actually explain a lot about our personality.  

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 2.Music is processed in almost all areas of the brain:

Contrary to popular belief, music is not processed in the right brain alone. The involvement of both left and right hemispheres in processing of music has been proven through improved brain imaging.  The brain imaging shows different areas of the brain processing different aspects of a piece of music such as movement, beats, musical notes, melody and harmonies, as well as connecting these musical aspects with experiences and memories.

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Have you ever wondered why some people like to listen to sad music and why some absolutely love to listen to happy tunes? The answer may be due to our emotions and how even short pieces of music can affect them.

There are two kinds of emotions: mainly perceived emotions and felt emotions. Because of this, some people can understand the emotions of a song without actually feeling them, whereas some people are only able to listen to a song because they themselves feel the emotion portrayed.

       3. People who are musically trained are better at motor and reasoning skills.

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A study published in Neuroscience said that children who had three years or more of musical instrument training showed better fine motor skills and auditory discriminatory skills. They were better at identifying new relationships and differences between shapes and patterns. Classically trained musicians also showed better ability in visual attention than non-musicians.

 

       4.It can actually be used to treat disease.

It’s quite unbelievable, but it’s true. Studies have shown that music has reduced both the sensation and the distress of both chronic pain and pain post-op. A paper that was published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, listening to music can reduce chronic pain caused by arthritis, vasculitis and rheumatoid arthritis by up to 21%. Listening to music reduces depression by 25%, reduces blood pressure and increases healthy heart rate.

Our Indian classical music—some Carnatic ragas – can cure sleeping disorders. Certain ragas such as Neelamabari, Anandabhairavi, Yadukulakamboji and Kalyani has been found to be very effective for sleep disorders. Listening to Carnatic music results in decreased anxiety, lower blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate is controlled and it has positive effects on sleep via muscle relaxation and distraction from thoughts. It is an amazing fact that all lullabies are composed in Raga Neelambari in South Indian Classical Music.

       5.Music helps us to exercise.

Research on the effects of music during exercise has been done for years. In 1911, an American researcher Leonard Aryres, found that cyclists pedalled faster while listening to music than they did in silence. This is because music drowns our brain’s cry of fatigue. As our body gets tired and wants us to stop exercising, it sends signals to our brain to stop for a break. Listening to music competes for our brain’s attention and can help us to override those signals of fatigue. This is mostly beneficial for low to moderate intensity exercise. It can also help us to use our energy more efficiently. So guys, the next time you head for a work out, pop on the music! Team up different tempos with the actual workout you’re doing and you’ll find it super-easy to get yourself in the groove.

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In conclusion, music is considered to be beneficial to our body and mind. So what else have you noticed about how music affects you? Do let me know in your comments.

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