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music and the mind

People enjoy, appreciate, adore, and admonish music. Music creators (musicians) can tend to be a quirky breed. It turns out that this is scientifically backed: music has an effect on your mind in the creating, playing and listening. Many studies in neuroscience back the idea that music is like “medicine to the mind“. Like the pharmaceuticals dispensed by medical doctors, the results of this musical administration seem to vary from person to person. Like the warning of “harmful side-effects”, music has its positive and negative influences on the feelings and behavior of people.

Music is mood-altering, mind-altering, body enlivening, stress-reducing and mentally relaxing for many people. It has been shown to have benefits in the healing process. Bottom line: music is really cool.

(And I will do my best to avoid the “classical vs. rock” arguments that I encounter occasionally. I don’t think this delineation is as clear cut as some would like to think. It’s hard enough to define what “classical” and “rock” are, let alone their neurological-influence differences. Yes, I know there have been studies on the subject and they’ve been repeatedly debunked as well. Moving on…)

Various neuroscience studies or case studies indicate that music may help with Parkinson’s, improve hearing, keep aging minds sharp, impact cognitive development, even reprogram DNA, and more.

Want to know more? A little light reading.

Wonderful news that our intuition about music is so on target…

Meanwhile, it’s also okay if you just want to listen to music for fun. 😉

Playful blessings,

(It is possible that the author has used sarcasm somewhere in this essay.)


7 thoughts on “music and the mind”

  1. My soul loves music. Tears of love often fall. One of the main radio stations I listen to is a Contemporary Christian station. There are some songs that deeply touch my soul which bring on the love tears or I feel myself moving to the beat and I just have this urge to dance. Somtimes (happy) tears fall then, too. I either dance while sitting or I stand up (what I’ve been doing lately).:)


    Write from the Heart

    1. “Tears of love”. Definitely a song in that phrase.
      Thanks so much for sharing … and for dancing, Diana!

      Playful blessings,

  2. :)Thank you! After I posted that comment, I saw Michael Buble’s video “Haven’t Met You Yet”. No happy tears, they came close to falling. Sometimes they do. It always makes me want to dance.:)

    Soulful dancing full of blessings.:)


  3. Also ok if u just want to LEARN music for fun….to reap its benefits, and enjoy its intrinsic value. Too bad the profession of music education doesn’t train anyone to help you if you’re over 18 yrs old. #epicfail #wecanhelp

    1. Thanks for your comment. My experience has been different. I’ve seen dozens of people learn music (with professionals teaching) well after 18 years old. I often hear from people who wish they had pursued music for longer. To which I always reply, “You can always continue now.” A surprising number of people will return to learning music (or other creative arts) later in life, especially if they are encouraged to do so. My partner, Anita Bondi, and I teach InterPlay which encourages this re-connection.

      And, I get that you’re advertising your music programs and possibly making your point from the vantage point of the people who mourn their non-continuation. Best wishes.

      1. I loved this post because it’s an honest take on the current state of affairs in music education. Your Interplay sounds a little like our adult “musicking” performances – no formal order, no programs, just wine, cheese, and adult music makers sharing their current state of ability – all valid at every level. At the Dallas School of Music we’ve taught literally thousands of adults over the past 20 years, not to mention kids who have no interest in being in band, choir, or orchestra programs at their schools. While doing so we developed our own curriculum ( and make it available online for learners of all ages to access globally. It seems to me that too much (in fact nearly ALL) training for future music teachers is focused on K-12 learners with only a cursory nod to adults or ‘the other 80%’. If that changed, maybe all communities would have Interplay or a DSM serving their needs.

        Check out this post re: the Mozart Effect

        Best of luck with all of your endeavors!

        1. Thanks, Eugene. InterPlay is movement, storytelling, etc. in addition to musical improv. I know many participants (including me) who have deeply connected with their creative center via these practices.

          It’s great to hear about your programs for youth and not-so-young. I agree that grassroots music is deeply important as an option for people who did not get their “fill” in school. Plus, so many of us don’t even know that we have desires around music (or other creative pursuits) until we get older. Thanks for the pointer to the post that advocates for these same things.

          Playful blessings!

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