Online discussion #1 is open for comments January 29-February 4. Make sure that you email your WordPress user name to music.drjones@gmail.com so that I can give you credit for participating. An overview of these assignments and how you’ll be graded is available here: Online participation overview – Spring 2018.


 

Welcome to Mu 101!

This semester, we’re going to be using this online forum to have deeper, ongoing conversations and dig into material we might not cover in class. The world of music—all the ideas, people, and ways of thinking that music opens up—is huge. There’s no way that we could possibly cover it all, but hopefully these online discussions will help enlarge your sense of just how big and fascinating the world is!

A very good place to start

We’re starting by thinking about thinking—how does music affect how people think?

Every activity, experience, and piece of information you come across in your life changes your brain. The brain is a system of neurons and synapses that constantly rewires itself to adapt to your life. The more often you do something (like recall a piece of information or perform an activity), the better your brain gets at accessing and doing it. This is why studying a little bit every day is effective: you’re reinforcing your brain’s ability to recall or associate bits of information. And, this is also why habits can be hard to break—you train your brain to do something by doing it over and over—and unlearning a habit requires both making totally new connections between different parts of your brain and also forgetting old ones.

There are a couple of good books on this subject if you want to keep reading:

brain music 3

So, what does this have to do with music?

Making music changes your brain in ways that other activities don’t. Learning to play a musical instrument can be a great benefit to the brain: its development, improved long-term memory, language skills, faster reaction times. A lot of research in this field specifically studies the effect of musical study on young children (and here and here), but the effects are true at all stages of life—it’s never too late!

Below is a short (5′) TedTalk that scratches the surface of this idea by showing the many mental processes and parts of the brain that are engaged when someone plays a musical instrument.

 

Listening—the task of Mu 101

Special things happen to our brains—and our bodies!—when we listen to music, too.

“Physiology” (pronounced fizzy-all-oh-gee) is the study of how our bodies normally function: how our cells, biochemicals, and bodily systems all work together, react to the world around us, and keep us alive.

Physiology comes into play with music when we start thinking about how our bodies react to music: things happen when we like the sounds we’re hearing (our eyes dilate, our pulse changes, our body releases dopamine)—we have a physiological reaction to the music that’s involuntary, exciting, sometimes unexpected, and often enjoyable. Our bodies’ reactions help us understand if we want to hear something again (even if we don’t directly say to ourselves, “Wow, my cerebellum became quite active during that song; I’d better listen to it again!”) because we enjoy the way they feel, and we know that listening to music might be one of the only ways to feel those particular (enjoyable) feelings again.

Below is a link to a short (19′) video presentation given by musician/researcher Deanna Choi at TEDxQueensU in 2012 (Canada) that explains what happens to our bodies when we listen to music. You might be a person that learns more easily from reading than listening, or if you may be interested in reading another short, accessible introduction to the study of music and physiology, so I’m including a link to one here. There are hundreds of similar articles out there—this has been a popular topic of research for the last several decades.

 

Final thoughts

Engaging with the materials of this class (and every class you take!) will change who you are—by changing how you think and listen, reinforcing new neural pathways in your brain, and helping you acquire new skills that will give you something to build upon, a bundle of neurons ready to link to whatever skills and information you encounter in the future. What a way to start the semester!

-Dr. J.

 

Some questions to get the conversation started:

  • What’s an activity that you can do easily, without having to consciously think about it, and how much practice did it take for you to able to do it easily? What can you infer about people who seem to make music effortlessly?
  • What are some physiological reactions you’ve experienced while listening to music?
  • If physiological reactions are involuntary, why don’t we all enjoy the same music to the same degree?

91 thoughts on “Music and the brain (Online discussion #1)

  1. This blog makes a good points on how music can be used to help improved long term memory, language skills, faster reaction times. But also music is being used in the medical field to help treat patient with premature infants and people with depression and Parkinson’s disease by using music therapy. you can read more about it on this website http://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/11/music.aspx

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    1. As a nursing student and as someone who loves listening to music, it’s amazing to see that music can actually help those who are ill, or help someone with Parkinson’s disease. I’ve met someone with Parkinson’s disease before which had made me extremely interested in this topic. Reading the article you linked above I’ve learned how the vibration can actually help them with their tremors, and with better speed walking.

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  2. The mental benefits i may have known already about how music can help strengthen your brain was just re-assured with this blog. I don’t know if this is common but there has been many cases where i would see pregnant women or know someone who was pregnant and the would place headphones over there belly and play “The Best of Mozart” or something of that nature to possibly help the development of the child’s mind. It’s called “The Mozart Effect” if interested in reading more about here is an article to help explain more https://www.babycenter.com/0_the-mozart-effect-classical-music-and-your-babys-brain_9308.bc . Also i have a question. The feeling that music gives us whether its happy, sad, turnt up lol or a song bringing u a memory from any specific time in our lives technically falls under physiology?

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  3. What grabbed my attention from reading this post was the part of how learning to play a musical instrument has great beneficial effects on you. Like the examples given such as long term memory and language skills. What amazes me about this is how learning to play an instrument and having long term memory connects. I read on a website called live science were they did a study on 70 adults from 60 to 83 who were divided in to groups based on musical experiences and they found that people who played music did better on certain cognitive tests then the individuals who never did. So it’s interesting for me to read how learning a musical instrument does have an effect on the brain when it comes to memory.

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  4. My question is why is it that learning to play a musical instrument has such a strong effect on the brain that it can help you have long term memory? Why specifically is it an instrument that can do that to you as apposed to something else that gives you long term memory.?

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    1. I had a similar question to you when I was reading the article in regards to why learning to play an instrument has such a strong effect on the brain and headed over to google for a bit more research. There were a couple different points given on the couple of websites I looked through. One of the major reasons that I came across was the fact that playing an instrument forces you to use many different parts of your brain you might not be inclined to use otherwise.

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      1. yeah i caught my attention in the beginning as well the article said playing music is equivalent to a workout lol thought it was a dope comparison

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        1. I was really attracted to the information of how listening to music is like working out because of how much brain activity is going on. Does that mean im in shape? i listen to a lot music.

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    2. This is a great question, the the youtube video in the group discussion gives us a great insight on how the brain works. To answer your question I believe an instrument effects the brain due to simple fact that it makes your brain work! if you think about it when playing an instrument you be able to challenge your motor skills, Being able to almost consistently play instrument would be a great way to develop the brain. According to Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent studies have shown that “growing evidence that musicians have structurally and functionally different brains compared with non-musicians in particular,”. It was also believe to help people plan better and to be more organized. Its a great way to help you remember, learning different song and remembering the notes is a great challenge for your memory skills and coordination.

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    3. That’s a good point. It is fascinating how learning an instrument has such a strong effect on the brain and helps develop long term memory. I believe it is because the same way we memorize and sing a song we like we can learn to play an instrument and in order to play it properly we must practice and use our brain the same way we would if we were doing math specially when reading notes.

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  5. What I found most interesting about video and the text is that some types of mental illness could be helped with through listening to music and it could improve everyday skills. This information should be spoken about more often because it could help certain individuals going through certain things like anxiety, depression or other mental illnesses. I knew music could help someone go through a lot when they are experiencing hardships or anything traumatic but there was lots of other information I learned from the blog that I did not know and think should be talked more about.

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  6. This was an very interesting read what grabbed my attention most is how Listening to music and The brain goes hand in hand, it shows how our body react to music differently. In addition all the impacts of learning to play an instrument are all positive because it causes long-term memory, language skills and faster reaction times. This just shows how learning a skill can be beneficial in so many different ways and how our bodies react to playing instruments. Very good read didn’t know any of this at all.

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  7. One physiological reaction I get when I first hear a really good song is that sometimes I get goosebumps because the song was so unexpected or just so good. I was very interested in the portion of the piece where they discussed the effect of learning and unlearning habits. Funny enough, I played the viola for about seven years and to this day can still play one of the first songs from memory because I had to play it so many times. For years I wondered why my elementary and middle school required all students to play an instrument and now I believe it was to foster it’s development! I found it very interesting that on average children who play instruments tend to have “greater increases in full-scale IQ scores among children in music lessons versus children in drama lessons or no extra lessons at all.”

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  8. I am glad to read that music has a strong effect on brain .Specially with music brain release dopamine which is very important for happiness . I learned that it also helped the people with alzheimers . No doubt that Albert Einstein has played piano and violin when he was thinking about a theory .

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  9. I have heard that many successful people has listen oprah when they were performing something ,like Dr Ben Carson had always listen oprah when he performed a surgery .

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  10. i find it fascinating that music helps the brain develop in many ways because i never really thought about it like that. like it can really be a treatment in all kinds of ways , and also the fact that its easier to learn to play an instrument as a child or teenager like Deanna Choi who is the woman with the violin said because i realized when someone turns out to be really good playing an instrument they typically do start off at a young age. But a question I have is why is harder to learn to play while your brain is already developed as an adult ?

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    1. To answer your question I think it’s harder to learn to play an instrument when your brain is fully developed as an adult because your brain is like a sponge and it absorbs material or a skill quickly, but when your younger it would absorb it quicker. However I have read an article from The Huffington Post where it says The adult brain is also chock full of life experience, which can actually be beneficial when leaning to play an instrument. So it’s never too late to learn to play an instrument.

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  11. In the first video it states that playing an instrument is the equivalence of a full body workout. I wasn’t quite sure if I agreed with that statement being that a full body workout requires a lot of physical movement, which eventually exhausts your muscles. However, as I kept watching I began to understand the connection. On the other hand, Deanna Chios story about her grandmother responding to the music really has me questioning the possibility of music being some kind of real deal antidote. I’m aware alzheimers and dementia are said to be hereditary. If playing an instrument is able to strengthen neural connections, if done consistently and effectively enough would it be able to completely stop neural deterioration? Could music not just slow down but possibly put a stop to alzheimers or dementia? Hey, if you don’t use it, you lose it right?

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    1. I agree with that! It’s like the brain also experiences atrophy from not using it as much. So, perhaps playing an instrument is the equivalent to working out the brain like how weights are for the rest of the muscles in our body.

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  12. My question is I read an article titled “Social Psychology & Personality Science, 2010 and it says People who are high in one of the five personality dimensions called ‘openness to experience’, are likely to feel the most chills while listening to music (Nusbaum and Silvia, “Shivers and Timbres Personality and the Experience of Chills From Music,” So I would like to know why does this happen?

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  13. Our brain is very interesting and important on how we react to something like listening to music. I think its cool that it wants to listen to certain things and the feeling we get while listening to music. one physiological reaction I get while listening to a song that is really good is goosebumps or sometimes it makes me very emotional because of the words or because I wasn’t expecting it.

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  14. Driving is an activity that I can do easily without having to consciously think about. I would have to say it took about three years of practice for me to do it easily. I think that we can infer that people who make music effortlessly have brains with a higher level of executive function and enhanced memory function. ” Musicians often have higher levels of executive function. A category of interlinked tasks that includes planning, strategizing, and attention to detail and requires simultaneous analysis of both cognitive and emotional aspects.” “Musicians exhibit enhanced memory functions.” (TEDEducation. “How playing an instrument benefits your brain – Anita Collins.” YouTube, YouTube, 22 July 2014 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0JKCYZ8hng).
    Some physiological responses I have experienced while listening to music are an increase in heart rate while listening to upbeat music and muscle relaxation while listening to tranquil music. Although physiological reactions are involuntary our choice in music is voluntary. For example, someone who listens to upbeat music to exercise would appreciate that type of music and can benefit from the involuntary physiological reaction of increased heart rate to warm themselves up for an exercise session but, someone who has just come home from a long day at work who wants to wind down for the evening might not appreciate that type of music and most likely would not appreciate an involuntary physiological reaction of increased heart rate. Two people can possibly have the same involuntary physiological reaction to a certain type of music but, depending on the scenario one person might like or dislike that type of music.

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  15. When listening to music we’re so focused on listening to the actual music, the beat and the words we never really stop to think about how music can really affect us. I never actually thought about how music can have a positive affect on our brain. It’s amazing to see how music can make a big difference in our lives. Not only with just changing our mood, or expanding and improving our brain but as well as helping people who have Alzheimer’s or Dementia. To answer one of the questions about why we all don’t enjoy the same music, it may be because we all have different taste to music and we all listen to music differently. Some may pay attention to the words, the beat and the rhythm.

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  16. This was very interesting to read because it grabbed my attention whiles reading. What I found most interesting was making music/ learning how to play an musical instrument changes your brain in ways other things don’t. For example its development, improved long-term memory, language skill, faster reaction time as stated.

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  17. I found that this reading really caught my eye, especially when it came to talking about mental illness. When Deanna Choi said that her grandmother had alzheimer’s disease and slipped into a coma, that hit home for me. My great grandmother suffered from that disease as well. So when Deanna Choi said she played music of her and her sister playing instruments for her grandmother which was in a coma at the time, that her grandmother eyes started fluttering and her mouth was opening. I found that breath taking. How can music just be so powerful?If music can have someone in a coma RESPOND nonetheless the woman had alzheimer’s and she REMEMBERED what music was then why aren’t people that are sick or mentally ill playing music more? Why aren’t the people that are close to the sick or mentally ill not playing music for them? Is it simply because they lack the knowledge of music and the knowledge to know how music can effect us?

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  18. What i really liked about this is that i learned that making music or playing an instrument enagages every part of the brain at once. Also when someone is playing and instrument they hear fireworks. Dementia patients also can respond to music emotionally and they have better mental focus after being exposed to that.I learned a lot after reading this and watching the videos.

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  19. What was really interesting about this post is the fact that musicians have better cognitive thinking skills and enhanced memory, this intrigues me because as a child i had a good memory in which i could recall many things however i never played an instrument growing up. So do musicians have a better version of memory inputs in their brains? Another thing that i found interesting was the fact that musicians can solve problems effectively and efficiently than non musicians maybe it is because as Deanna Choi states that musicians have more symmetrical brains. In which they have larger corpus callosum’s, so it seems that musicians have better brains. My question is are musicians better at solving complex things than non musicians? To answer your question nmendoza83 there is a woman by the name of Ann Hannan who is a certified music therapist at the Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, states that there are many music therapists in hospitals who help play music and instruments which helps terminally ill patients relax.

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    1. I agree with you on that logic. Music can make a huge impact on the brain and music therapy plays a huge factor because individuals want to make an approach of understanding music with or without an instrument. I’m a health science student and I can relate because listening to music becomes fresh in my mind and I to recall the songs I listen to that way I can who is sing or what instrument is being played.

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  20. Why is it that certain music improves the brain by just listening for example Mozart? what is it about his music that is so special contrast to other styles of music

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  21. If it is common knowledge to educators and scientists alike that learning to play an instrument fosters brain development and leads to higher test scores, then why isn’t music more highly regarded in the k-12 educational field? I feel that with all the music and performing programs being cut it’s doing our youth a disservice.

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  22. The way music helps the development of brain is very amusing. There is factual evidence that listening to Mozart makes more clever which is where the phrase ”The Mozart Effect” comes from. A plethora of studies have been conducted and all seem to follow the same results partner. People who listen to Mozart for 10 minutes perform task than those who didn’t. Other studies have also shown that listening Schubert has also a positive effect on the brain adding to the idea that the brain just needs something to get it going and music makes the mind active anyone interested in this theories should follow up with this article. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130107-can-mozart-boost-brainpower

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    1. I too believe that this is very true. I found myself listening to Mozart a few times when I was studying for my finals last semester. I thought that Mozarts music helped me tremendously. It motivated me and kept me on track.

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  23. It is no surprise that different kinds of music can evoke different types of physiological responses within us. In one study carried out by Prof. Peter Terry, an Olympic sports psychologist, he states that “elite athletes can run 18 per cent longer when listening to music.” There are many theories to why this occurs such as a relaxation effect that increases blood flow, tempo relating to stride rate or maybe the release of dopamine just makes the experience more pleasurable and the runners are able to run longer. I definitely can relate because I turn on music during almost any activity such as driving, exercising, or studying and I will enjoy my time more. To read the full article click here: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/entertainment/music/music-helps-athletes-boost-performance/news-story/e615987d06a65d4ccc693299a8ba2037.
    Another way we can use music to affect our brain in a positive way is listening to certain music before sleeping. There have been studies to see whether listening to music actually helped patients with insomnia. The research found that not only did they sleep longer, but resulted in “shorter time to fall asleep, higher perceived sleep quality, and less daytime dysfunction.” Although different people will have different physiological effects to different music, it has been proven that there are many positive aspects that everyone can utilize by listening to music. To read this article which has links to the studies as well as other tips to fight insomnia if you need it click here: https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/sleep/does-music-help-you-sleep-how-to-help-insomnia-by-listening-to-music.

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    1. @paolo118
      “elite athletes can run 18 per cent longer when listening to music.” Wow that is amazing. That is a significant increase in performance. Although I have never measured my increase in performance in exercise while listening to music I definitely feel an increase in motivation. Have you experienced an increase in exercise performance while listening to music?

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      1. @musk101
        Although I’ve never tested it in a controlled environment, I definitely agree with you that I typically can feel an increase in motivation. Since exercise is a mental challenge as well as physical challenge, the physiological effects such as the release of dopamine could make tasks more enjoyable and therefore increase our motivation.

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      2. i have most definitely experienced an increase in exercise performance while listening to music. For example drake’s song “0 to 100” comes on I play way better in basketball.

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  24. I have always wondered if music affected us humans in any way other than emotionally, and this reading was a direct answer to my long lasting question. I had no earlier knowledge of how much of an impact music really is on our brain. Considering how much music I listen to on a daily basis along with past instrument experience, i have never really noticed the effects until after this reading. Effects such as longer lasting memory and faster reaction times is very amusing. It kind of gives me the incentive to pick the trumpet back up again! It is also fascinating how our brain can pick apart each element of a song and process it as a whole in less than a second. We all hear musical sounds every single day of our lives, yet little do we acknowledged the process of it all. This changes my overall outlook on listening to music, and frankly makes me appreciate it more than i already did.

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  25. What was most interesting to me about this whole thing is how our brain lights up when were listening to Music. It was pretty obvious to me that people love music. the catchy tune, the lyrics, and beats you cant help but sing along. But whats most interesting is what is happening inside your brain. How advance your brain is becoming by memorizing, and harnessing the power of the music. Its more fascinating also the way it spreads all through the brain, when playing music. To me it means all parts of the bran accept music. if you know about the brain some parts of it you use to read and the other half for fun stuff but music is accepted almost all over. The process of music is fascinating, and its so regular to us because we hear it everyday. But little do we know of the amazement happening inside our head.

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  26. Just amazed… Everything is about chemical reaction in the brain. Memories are fists sensed, then pass to short and after long term memory. Memories are easier to store if they are related with emotions or feelings. In the case of patients with Alzheimer, they might not remember the person, but if you play a song that would bring feelings to emotions to them, they are most likely to remember the person behind that song. But what if your short and long term memory can’t retain memories?
    Some years ago, in a car accident my brain was injured. As a consequence I could not remember moments, words, places or people form my past. However, I notice I still had this difficulty in my present day a day life. So i developed my own way to memorize and remember them, I learn and memorize by association. For example; if something special/important happened that day, I associated with the weather from that day; sunny, rainy, cold or hot. If someone said something important I related with how I feel at that moment; hungry, thirsty, sad or happy. Now, for people or people’s name’s I related with music. Either a song that pronounce their name, or a song that was playing on the background while talking to her/him. This definitely works. With this scientifically and ny by my own experience proven, i can say that music definitely help with memory.

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  27. The series of videos showcases the benefits of music, more specifically the benefits of playing an instrument. Studies have shown how the brain responds when presented with different activities. When the brain was introduced to music multiple parts responded as oppose to a single quadrant. When an individual is using an instrument the brain is more active than when an individual just listen to music.Musicians were shown to have larger Corpus callosum than individuals that do not play an instrument. The Corpus callosum is the bridge between the two hemispheres of the brain. The benefits to playing an instrument are beyond amazing. This triggered a question, should learning an instrument be mandatory at school or would forcing students to play an instrument cause them to resent it?

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    1. Responding to your question, I don’t think we should force kids to play music. I don’t think playing music is everyone’s stronghold. I do think its something we need to lead them into. Like maybe start playing music as they walk in to their regular classes, see what the majority likes to listen to and start something small like I don’t know, a recorder. From there, filter out who grows a passion for it. If they don’t a passion then thats fine, because there are others such as sports and art.

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  28. My question is since music affects the brain in a positive way, has the department of education consider having a music class for students starting at a young age?

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    1. I was thinking the same thing and remember learning to play a recorder and such but thats not attractive at all for young children. Hopefully, they’ll incorporate music at an early age that would appeal to us.

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  29. Earlier you cite Antonio Damasio and his theory of “core consciousness” and people’s ability to consciously enter special mental states by training their brains to do so. When I read this I immediately thought of when people say they are, “in the zone.” Is Damasio’s theory of core consciousness related to musicians, athletes and artists’ “zone”?

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  30. What’s an activity that you can do easily, without having to consciously think about it, and how much practice did it take for you to able to do it easily? What can you infer about people who seem to make music effortlessly?
    What are some physiological reactions you’ve experienced while listening to music?
    If physiological reactions are involuntary, why don’t we all enjoy the same music to the same degree?

    This gives me a bit more insight and understanding as to why people say that music has had the power to shift their mood and relax them. For myself, music is beyond relaxing. Listening to is great, but as a percussionist, I find more than relaxation within it, I find myself in a place of “zen.”
    Based off experience with ensembles, I can infer that musicians have strength in organization and attention to detail. A piece that may seem so simple to others actually requires more attention to detail and will be practiced days upon days.
    I do think that we all enjoy music differently because its more than physiology, its the experience we’ve had as listeners, and the way in which we listen and play it.
    I pose the following question: can music and its affect on the brain, somehow someway be included in the medical field? For example, lets say you have a migraine and go to the doctor. Instead of a prescription, the doctor tells you to go home and listen to a specific song and tells you to listen to that song three times a day for a week, and you’ll be treated. Would music ever have that power to do something like that?

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  31. Playing an instrument might look easy from an outsider’s perspective, but it can be very hard to learn, especially when you’re first starting out. It can take years to master one instrument. When I watch performances on the internet or tv, I am usually surprised with how musicians can play songs that they haven’t rehearsed without even thinking about it. I still haven’t gotten to that stage in my music playing but I think it’s because of experience, repetition and musical knowledge. At the top of my head, I can’t think of anything I can do without having to consciously think about it.

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    1. That’s a great question. I feel as though learning to play an instrument when you’re younger is more beneficial because our brains are literally sponges and they adapt to the conditions and environments around them. However there is overwhelming evidence that music helps patients with Alzheimer’s.

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  32. The first part of this reading really surprised me. For one I didn’t know the brain and music connected so much and literally affects every part! And not going to lie I saw how long the second video was and almost skipped through it, but glad I didn’t. I thought the personal story she shared was amazing because though it was a ruff time once she played that recording for grandmother, her body responded.This past summer I ended up at the hospital as well and stayed in the emergency room over night and it sucked but i remembered Jay-Z had dropped his 4:44 album and I was trying everything to find it on my phone but couldn’t, luckly my friend found a link and texted it to me.It then made my stay a little easier because music was all I had the moment besides antibiotics. A question I have is does it matter what instrument you learn to play that makes you smarter? Like is one learning higher than the other?

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  33. I never really thought of music being beneficial in terms of helping us further than just simply enjoying music and how it makes us feel. I have not played very many instruments in my life for a long period of time so this thought went right over my head; it is so interesting that playing an instrument can help functions of our brains such as auditory, motor and visual and with that help, we could easily apply that to other day to day activities to help strengthen it. It makes me more intrigued to instruments and this recent study.

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    1. A question that did peak while the watching the video is, does listening to music help any function of our brains at all? i know listening isn’t the same as playing but it would still be fascinating to know the exact differences.

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  34. One activity I can do easily is beatboxing. I’ve been doing it for about 4 years now and after a year and a half I sometimes slip into this mode where I start doing it subconsciously. What’s cool to me about the more complex sounds and basic sounds being used together is that it makes the body into an instrument and basically blurs the line between vocal talent and instrumental prowess.I think it acts very closely to how playing an instrument affects your brain. With beatboxing though, instead of using more of your brain you end up using less of it more efficiently. This is brought up in this article by BBC, http://www.bbc.com/news/health-13613891.

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  35. While watching Deanna Choi’s presentation on Alzheimer’s and the brain a question came to my mind. Why are doctors not prescribing more music to patients who are genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease?

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  36. -Something i do effortlessly is walking.The time for me to master the skill of walking was about two years of my childhood.
    -Some physiological reactions that i experience while listening to music would be dancing, humming, etc.
    -We all enjoy music differently because, of our different backgrounds, different experiences, and different styles.

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  37. A question to you all would be, have you learned how to play an instrument? and how has it impacted your life?

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  38. I was thoroughly fascinated by the content in this blog post. I knew that music played a vital role in our lives, but to be able to understand that music can touch parts of our bodies and our brains in ways that I never even fathomed possible. Intrigued by the content in this blog and the comments that some of you have been posting, I went researching for more information on music’s influence on the body and brain. I stumbled across this article https://owlcation.com/social-sciences/The-Effect-of-Music-on-Human-Health-and-Brain-Growth which gives really great insight on the effects of music on our lives. What fascinated me the most was the part of the article that states that “patients who listened to classical music during and after open heart surgery tend to recover faster than patients who didn’t.” How awesome is that? Music definitely has healing powers, both physically and spiritually!

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  39. Another question, If our bodies release dopamine when we play a instrument and listen to music why don’t they have have the same mental benefits as far as long term memory etc? we remember the lyrics to hundreds of songs there has to be some sort of similarities right?

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  40. Does anyone have any personal experiences with the healing power of music? For myself, I battled with depression and anxiety for about 5 years. Listening to classical music, Tibetan flutes and “relaxing” music helped me overcome this perilous journey of mine.

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    1. I’ve battled with my own depression and in that period of time whenever I was feeling super I would only listen to the same song for about an hour on repeat until I felt better. This may seem weird but I actually have specific songs for specific scenarios. For example when I’m feeling paranoid I only listen to Street Lights by Kanye West.

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  41. Why does music always have a way with helping with people with depression or anxiety? It always seems to relax a person even when it is not the musicians’s intention.

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    1. thats an interesting question i read about it on a website and it said how from the earliest days of civilization music had a way to heal the body and soul it makes people with anxiety or depression express themselves in a non verbal way. also playing music gets people moving physically and it helps express your emotion helps you let go of suppressed feelings or even people with anxiety it can affect your breathing depending on the kind of music it can slow down or speed up ur breathing a slow tempo has a relaxing effect on you with slows down your heart rate .because music is such a powerful tool it helps with depression because it takes them away from there sadness even for a little while its pleasurable and meaningful.

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  42. I too has had a personal experience with the healing power of music, also because of depression music has been helping a lot. I like a lot of instrumental kinds of things it helps me be in a more calmer mood.

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  43. a physiological reaction I’ve experienced while listening to music was me and my friend liked a certain song and we always played it and listened to it. when i made her a birthday video i used the song that we both liked in the background.when we stopped being friends any time the song was played on the radio even tho it wasn’t neccaserilly a sad song the reaction i from then on experienced while listening to the song was automatically connected with sad feelings.even now when i hear the song it brings me back to that time.

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  44. the reason we don’t enjoy all the same music is just because physiological reactions are involuntary its doesn’t specifically need to mean we have the same reaction it could be a happy reaction a sad reaction we all have different emotions so it makes sense that we wouldn’t react to the same degree we attach different emotions to different music its impossible to enjoy it to the same degree because everyone has a different feeling towards it

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  45. After reading about the visual cortex, it is quite obvious that music can have the mind control to make people want to dance to a song the individual listens to. Also, the violinist playing in different types of melody. From high to low and then back to high pitch.

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  46. An activity that I am able to do without having to consciously having to think about it, would have to be biking. I don’t remember practicing for more than a day as a kid nor did I even need training wheels. However, when I started to train to become faster I did put in hours and hours on the road. I feel that people who seem to make music effortlessly find that they have talent and then put in hard work to excel in it.

    Whenever i’m studying or doing homework, I’ll have music playing in the background. Every now and then a “banger”(really catchy/hype song) would come on and I would start dancing, bump my head, sing the lyrics, or tap with my hands or feet.

    I feel although physiological reactions to music may be involuntary its effect could be based on what type of music is playing and how that communicates with the listener. If it’s to the listener’s liking they may react.

    After watching Deana Choi’s TedX, would it be possible if one were to have music play at all times in the background from birth, would that individual’s brain perform better than one that did not?

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  47. I find it interesting that music and our brains are deeply connected with each other. I do know music has an impact on our brains but I never knew to what extent. Also, I would have never thought that playing an instrument could better someone’s memory and other aspects of the brain. It honestly makes want to learn to play an instrument that I have always wanted to play.

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  48. This reading resource gives me clear lecture explanation why music can effect my personality and view of the world. It’s really helped me that understand relationship between brain and music deeply. Brain is the central of personality, thoughts, memories, feelings, view of the world, view of a thing, etc… The brain is effected by music so that’s why sometimes my mood, thoughts and personality can be changed by music.

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  49. Music would simply be noise if weren’t for ability to be able to express emotion and understand its context. So When we listen to any kind genre from any music whether it be rock, pop, classical, jazz or anything we come to feel it, and maybe arguably see it. Let’s take for example a piece by Ludwig Van Beethoven, Fur Elise, whenever i listen to it i feel like there is a certain storm of sadness coming, looming ever closer to me but then the piece moves to and changes its tone from sadness to joy but only for a moment, as if its saying “you’ll be happy for a minute and sad for an hour.” I find it to no surprise that both music and our brains are connected, music serves to us a platter of hidden emotions we dug away or left unnoticed. What I found most interesting by the five minute video is the difference in our brains between the ones listening and the ones creating. Its fascinating knowing what our brain does in so little time when it engages with the music we listen and also the amount of “workout” it does when it creates it.

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  50. As a basketball payer and a musician I Feel like music finds a way to tap into my brain for motivation, the same feeling that was being discussed in the blog with listening to a song for the very first time with pulse change and adrenaline running through my body, I would receive the same feeling while listening to my favorite song before a game. Thinking about all of that, to see how our brains react to music is super incredible even through illness and pain.

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  51. My interest on the relationship between music and Alzheimer’s Disease led me to this article https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5267457/. The study shows that music therapy can be a part of treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease.”MT(Music Therapy) can be considered a non-pharmacological intervention which has the potential effects to reduce cognitive decline, improve neuropsychiatric symptoms, and enhance the QOL(Quality Of Life) of AD(Alzheimer’s Disease)[34]. Researches have demonstrated that MT(Music Therapy) can protect cognition of AD(Alzheimer’s Disease) especially autobiographical and episodic memories, psychomotor speed, executive function, and global cognition. However, it is just an adjunct method for interventions of AD(Alzheimer’s Disease). So patients should not discontinue medications during MT(Music Therapy) and it must be started at the early stage of dementia even before dementia.”Fang, Rong, et al. Translational Neurodegeneration, BioMed Central, 2017, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5267457/.

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  52. Music is something that everyone has a unique relationship with, with so many factors there’s not one way to explain why everyone does not enjoy a specific piece of music to the same degree. Some instances not everyone will experience and feel the euphoric release when a certain chord or melody is played simply because the chords sound too “happy” for people to find and create a groove for. The euphoric feeling people get when they listen to music may occur for different reasons because the composition may seem very dense but if it doesn’t evoke a groovy feeling the composition as a whole doesn’t matter especially for most cases in hip-hop. For example Q-Tip, the famed producer in the legendary hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest seemed to make musical classics by turning soul, funk, and jazz compositions into bass-heavy melodic loops. Songs like Electric Relaxation provide a very smooth vibe but the mood of the instrumental is just subtle enough to not overtake the song allowing the freedom for the artists to simply exhibit a high level of performance. My point in what I’m trying to make is that sampling in hip-hop production may be only limited based on the producer but at the end of the day, every producer seems to search for and create the groove. But in other genres, the groove may not be the most important factor in classical music and that it mainly revolved around the idea of creating a very dense and musically powerful composition instead of how in modern music the instrumental is the supporting backbone for the artist.

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  53. Riding a bike is something I’d say I can do without consciously thinking about it and like the first video I can relate to how my brain has to perform these tasks such as creating chords and selecting certain audio textures to create a musical piece. But what both of these things have in common is that they’re bound by going into a certain direction, for example, you ride your bike going forward in a certain direction just like in music when someone is performing an improvisation the musician is performing it in a certain key. But the idea I’m trying to express is that maybe in our minds we premeditate how we want to approach certain things whether someone is making music or riding a bike because at the end of the day for both things there’s always an end goal to achieve.

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  54. Something that I do do effortlessly without conscious thinking about it is being patient. At one point I did not like to wait for anything and was instantly irritated whenever I was required to have patience. I would say that now I pretty much let things fall into their natural place in their given time interval without making a big deal out of it. Instead I just adjust my own path accordingly and move on with m life. This control surely did not come overnight so when I see a talented musician I know that they have put in countless hours perfecting their craft. Physiological reactions that I usually experience while listening to music varies depending on what I am listening to. It could possibly promote a relaxed state or even an excited one. I believe that the reason why we don’t always enjoy the same music is the same reason why we don’t all like the same foods or are attracted to the same people. We have all experienced different things and have different preferences so in result we all prefer different things.

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  55. I’m not really sure if it’s an involuntary reaction but when I listen to music I find myself trying to grasp the time signature and groove by tapping or moving my head while I’m counting the number of beats out loud or inside of my head.

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    1. I sometimes do the same. Do you also find yourself singling out specific instruments to focus on the construction of the song?

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  56. As a person who is in love with sports, music is something that always is required for me to not only be motivated, but to be concentrated on certain things. Depending on the song, or the artist, I don’t feel like type of music I listen to affects my mood, but it defintley depends on the task I am performing. Like I’m not going to listen to country music when I am about to prepare to play a game, but maybe when I’m doing some task at home. Rap is for when I play sports. It is so interesting how music can affect the way our brains work.

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  57. It is so fascinating to see the effects that music has on our brains and in our daily lives and how it can positively help you. its also really interesting to see what kind of effects it has on the brain, and what parts of our brain react when we listen to music. The Ted talk and the Youtube video really help to give a better understanding of what these effects of music do to us and the major benefits that can come with them such as increased or accelerated memory, dopamine which helps people to feel pleasurable, and the ability to help with depression, and certain types of mental illness that music can help to regulate or calm someones nerves. As someone who used to play piano everyday for me when i played music it was a way to escape the stresses and responsibilities of everyday life and give myself sometime to just relax and be myself and be creative. music has helped me to further better my skills and help me to realize the amazing benefits you can obtain through listening or playing music. I think people are unaware just how much music helps people everyday, but are also unaware of the amazing outcomes that people can achieve through music.

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  58. Upon further research on the topic of Alzheimer’s Disease and Music. I found research saying that music can be helpful in being part of a treatment plan. “MT(Music Therapy) can be considered a non-pharmacological intervention which has the potential effects to reduce cognitive decline, improve neuropsychiatric symptoms, and enhance the QOL(Quality Of Life) of AD(Alzheimer’s Disease) [34]. Researches have demonstrated that MT (Music Therapy) can protect cognition of AD(Alzheimer’s Disease) especially autobiographical and episodic memories, psychomotor speed, executive function, and global cognition. However, it is just an adjunct method for interventions of AD(Alzheimer’s Disease). So patients should not discontinue medications during MT (Music Therapy)and it must be started at the early stage of dementia even before dementia.” Fang, Rong, et al. Translational Neurodegeneration, BioMed Central, 2017, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5267457/. Here is a link to the article and study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5267457/.

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    1. I have heard of Music Therapy before and have always been interested on exactly how it works so thank you for the article. I tend to oppose prescription drugs because I feel that they make the original problem somewhat bearable but then add unwanted side effects that end up making the situation worse than what it originally was. Music therapy could be a ground breaking alternative to those that aren’t really into prescription drugs and I really hope they continue researching this matter.

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