3 Surprising Ways Music Impacts You

Find Out How Music Impacts Everything From Emotional Regulation to Behavior

I don’t think it surprising anybody to say that music can have a profound impact on your day. Hearing your favorite song first thing in the morning can put you in a great mood all day long. But music actually affects us in a lot of ways many of us never realize. If you want to find out about some of the surprising ways music impacts all of us, take a look at the article below and I’ll shed some light on the scenario to find out how music impacts our:

  • Neurochemistry
  • Experiences
  • Emotional state
Music can be impactful on your day both as a listener or as a performer.

Music Impacts Us On A Neurochemical Level

Music Is Designed to Elicit Emotions

One of the most important ways music impacts any of us is through an emotional experience. There are very few other forms of art that can elicit such emotions as sadness and joy as strongly as music can. Music can evoke everything from thrilling gemotions to a minor key that feels down right bone chilling. And here’s a free piece of music trivia for you, most songs are constructed around harmonic chord movements that are designed to elicit certain emotions. These progression can even be transferred across different keys to evoke the same emotion in a different piece of music. So not only i s music able to affect and influence our emotional state, it is intended and designed to influence our emotional state.

The reason it is able to influence our emotional state is because we find an enormous amount of pleasure in listening to music. Now I’m not saying that everybody loves listening to the same song. Obviously that wouldn’t make any sense if you spent even one day on planet earth. What I am saying is that when you hear the songs that you enjoy and that you have encoded prior positive emotional experiences and memories onto, the song is then able to draw out those soame emotions from the memories you have associated with the song. In fact music, like food, sex, and drugs target the dopamine systems in our brain. This is the part of the brain that creates feelings of happiness and pleasure. An aesthetic stimuli like music can cause these areas of the brain to release an increased level of dopamine as compared to what would normally be released. And this dopamine causes a neurochemical reaction that tells your nerves to make you feel happy.

Music can have an enormous impact on your mental state, especially in a communal setting like a concert.

Music Creates Anticipation

When It Resolves This Anticipation, It Makes Us Feel Something

Another way music affects us emotionally is through the use of anticipation and resolution. See music is all about creating and relieving feelings of tension. The more tension that is built, the more pleasure there is to be had when the tension is resolved. Chord movements and the harmonic structure of a song are designed to create a feeling of tension in the listener's ear.

See when you hear something very close to your tonic chord, it creates a strong pull back to the tonic in the ear of the listener. They want the song to go back to the tonic and resolve the tension that the notes that aren’t in the tonic chord are creating against the parent scale of the key.

This pull towards the tonic creates feeling of anticipation in the listener and through this anticipation there is a lot of tension that is built into their reaction. The longer the song takes to move back to the tonic chord, the more tension has been built, and the stronger the resolution is going to feel for the listener. And because the resolution they feel is stronger, they receive an even greater amount of pleasure from it. By making them wait for, and anticipate, the resolution of the tension, the composer is able to elicit different emotional reactions in the listener.

Music is all about anticipating, waiting, for the resolution, and when the resolution happens, it emotionally impacts us.

Music Can Literally Be Used As Medicine

Music Has A Surprising Impact on the Healing Process

Finally, one of the most important ways music can affect us and our emotional state is in the form of music therapy. Music therapy is the use of music by licensed professionals to create a therapeutic and medical response to the music in the patient. This can be used for everything from overcoming speech impediments to regaining the ability to talk after a stroke. The association of different actions and feelings to certain musical events allows the patient to build new and alternative neural networks in their brain that allows the mind to find new ways to go about performing a task that might never have been attempted otherwise.

Similarly, music has also shown a profound impact as a therapeutic tool in hospitals for centuries. Music’s association with the healing process dates back to antiquity, but it is only in modern times that we have the medical and technological tools available to be able to prove that listening to music can in fact help patients heal faster and stronger than without music.

Music comes in all shapes, sizes, and varieties, so find the style that impacts you the way you want to be impacted.

There you go, there’s a couple of surprising ways that music affects us. Some of it might not be that surprising. I mean obviously hearing your favorite song is going to put you in a better mood. That much is apparent to anybody. But the other ways music can affect us, such as its use in the hospital environment or as a tool in therapy is pretty astounding. There is something very reassuring about the fact that music literally helps us heal and get better. I don’t know about you, but that is the kind of news that I could use more of everyday.

Anthony Stockton
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