Uncategorized

Classical Music’s Effect on Health

I often have wondered if classical music effects our health. I had heard that playing the harp is good for the player’s health because one pulls the strings toward their body creating a vibrating frequency that promotes good health. We have all heard of the ‘Mozart Effect’. Well Elisabeth Thompson is a home schooled high school student and patient at my office. She wrote an intriguing paper on the effects of classical music on health that with her permission I post here.

 

Classical Music and Health

By Elisabeth Thompson

Classical music is timeless for a reason. The effects of playing or listening to it are widely unknown. Studies and experiments show listening and playing to classical music can help children’s brain development and overall health. Classical music doesn’t make anyone smarter, but based on the way it is used and enjoyed; it can create a better atmosphere for a young brain to prosper. Playing and listening to classical music gives people a calm environment, releases healthy hormones and affects memorization neural pathways.

classical music

Classical Music has a Calming Effect

People that are introduced to classical music early have a better chance of faster cognitive development due to the atmosphere that it creates. Whether or not a child is mentally capable or not, releasing tension from the body through music is effective because music literally touches almost every part of the body. “The roots of the auditory nerves are more widely distributed and possess more extensive connections than those of any other nerves” (Olpin 6). This means that the nerves carrying the electrical signals of sound are touching almost every part of the body, not just the brain. So, by listening or participating in the music, the brain receives the signal which is carried out to help calm the rest of the body as well.

Classical Music’s Effect on Whole Body Health

Classical music is proven to help digestion, circulation, nutrition absorption, and respiration. It wouldn’t help those things, unless it first helped the brain. In order for those bodily functions to become more efficient, the brain has to run smoother to tell the body what to do. Similarly, for children who may be disabled, there is a program called Medical Resonance Therapy Music. This therapy uses specific melodies that excite cells through resonance which renews the cell and, in turn, the whole body (Olpin 8).The meaning behind this is straight-forward, but not simple. Basically, music (preferably classical) is played to a patient, and the vibrations or frequencies of the notes resonates within the cells of the patient’s body. The resonance of the notes restores the cell to its former state of being. This all plays a role in the calming effect of classical music because as it soaks into the body through the brain, it not only calms the body, but also restores the body.

Classical Music and the Brain

This next point all depends on whether or not someone likes classical music or not, but if one does classical music makes people happy and happy people are healthier. Researchers did a study on the brain and hormones and they did ligand- based PET. When music was being played, the scans showed that music releases dopamine in the dorsal and ventral striatum. Dopamine is known as the pleasure chemical in the brain; these regions of the brain are associated with pleasure, no matter what the pleasure stimuli is (Lehrer 2). This means that if people like classical music, and it is played to them that dopamine is released into their body making them actually feel pleasure.images Pleasure makes people temporarily happier, and happy people are healthier because it gives them a time frame to wind down and let their bodies heal and rest. On the same note, the reason the dopamine is released is because “it is the suspenseful tension of music (arising out of our unfulfilled expectations) that is the source of the music’s feeling” (Lehrer 5). What this means is that the climax of a specific song builds up a listener’s anticipation, which is when the most dopamine is released. Dopamine is not only the pleasure chemical but also the reward chemical, so when the climax of the song is approaching, the dopamine is released and the arrival of the climax is the listener’s reward. Hormones have the power to make a healthier person, and music has the power to make healthier hormones.

Classical Music and Memoryimages (1)

Neurological pathways are just the way electrical signals travel through the brain and body, and music can help strengthen the memorization pathways in the brain.  No, music doesn’t make people smarter even Mozart. Using “Excitation at the time of learning” however can help people’s memorization because “Emotional arousal” enhances memory formation by positively influencing the period of neurobiological activity called consolidation that establishes a memory in the brain’” (Sorensen 5). So when people play positive music that enhances the attention on the brain, whatever that person is doing solidifies more deeply into their memory. Once more, this does depend of the enjoyment factor as well. When listeners are engaged in a dramatic symphony and reading a book, they are much more likely to remember what they read because it is an excitatory factor in the increment of time reading. Again, “If this was the case then Mozart has nothing to do with the effect” (Sorensen 6). This is true because it isn’t the composer himself, it depends on the kind of music the listener likes and it doesn’t make anyone smarter. It only brings out the potential already placed inside people’s brain.

So, when people are involved in classical music somehow, they are more likely to provide a healthy environment for their bodies because of the calming effect, hormones, and memory improvements. Classical music won’t make people smarter but it has healing components, helps mood and allows a good functioning atmosphere for workers and students alike. This doesn’t mean that all people should stock their homes with old classical CD’s and records, but it is a good tool to use for health.

Works Cited:

Lehrer, Jonah. “The Neuroscience of Music.” Wired. Conde Nast, 19 Jan. 2011. Web. 24 Apr.

Olpin, Michael, Hesson, Margie. Stress and the Environment. Bellmont: Wadsworth Cengage

Learning, 2013. Faculty.weber.edu. Web. 24 Apr. 2015. Sorensen, Lars. “Mozart on the Brain.”

Rutgars.edu. Rutgars Universtiy, 19 Nov. 2008. Web. 24