Music to the Ears
Music can relieve the mind and soothe the senses. Nine out of ten Americans listen to music recreationally, which should tell you just how popular it is as a mode of relaxation. Music can help you forget the bad times and remember the good times.
The wonders of music can help relieve stress and relax the body. It can put you to sleep and even help you stay awake. With so many benefits to music, it’s no wonder that we have an emotional connection with music from even before we are born.
Research indicates that babies respond with increased eye contact to songs that were sung by their mothers when they were in the womb. We each have our favorite and least favorite songs. We have songs that excite us, make us dance with joy, make us cry, and even make us cringe. It may be difficult to find out why, but researchers are currently working on a called biomusicology, which explores our emotional reactions to music.
Our ears may be responsible for picking up the melodies, but our reactions to music occur in the brain. The limbic system, which contains the amygdale and the hippocampus, provide a plethora of emotional reactions to certain arrangements of sounds that we perceive as music.
The brain works in funny ways, attempting to make connections in order to make sense of our world of so many sights and sounds. We tend to be wary of sounds that sound like screams, which instantly and impulsively warn us of threats. We also tend to enjoy tinkling sounds which sound like laughter. Our brains respond to sound even when we are anesthetized.
People often say that music has no language. Certain sounds, when strung together, sound pleasant irrespective of what language the lyrics are in. Conversely, certain classical music may sound appealing to some but to others from foreign lands, it may appear boring or too loud.
In essence, music helps us consolidate this world in all of its complexity. It helps us add auditory tags to visual memory. We integrate emotion along with music to create more than simply a symphony; we create an experience that reverberates in the mind for years to come!