Playing Music has great benefits for adults - improve health, reduce stress and increase creativity
Playing music reduces stress...most sickness and health-related issues are stress related
Playing music helps increase heightened creativity and energized focus.
Research showing benefits of playing music for Adults
Reduces Stress Playing a musical instrument can reverse stress at the molecular level, according to studies conducted by Loma Linda University School of Medicine and Applied Biosystems (as published in Medical Science Monitor). Music therapy was recently found to reduce psychological stress in a study of 236 pregnant women. (College of Nursing at Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan)
Playing music reduces stress and has been shown to reverse the body's response to stress at the DNA-level (Dr. Barry Bittman).
Making music can help reduce job burnout and improve your mood, according to a study exposing 112 long-term care workers to six recreational music-making sessions of group drumming and keyboard accompaniment. (As published in "Advances in Mind-Body Medicine") Engaging in playing music reduces depression. Recent research with long-term care workers showed reduced depression (21.8 percent) six weeks after the completion of a music-making program consisting of one hour per week (Source: A 2003 study conducted by Trip Umbach Healthcare Consulting, Inc.).
Reduces Stress in the workplace - Recreational Music Making (RMM) has been scientifically proven to help the U.S. workplace by:
Reducing employee stress
Reducing employee depression
Reducing employee burnout
Improving employee retention
Employee stress is expensive for companies and widespread. Research shows that the economic impact is estimated at $300 billion each year (Source: New York Times). Experts claim that 60 to 90 percent of doctor visits involve stress-related complaints. Engaging in RMM reduces stress. RMM has been shown to reverse the body’s response to stress at the DNA level (Source: Dr. Barry Bittman).
Depression is widespread in the workforce and is expensive for companies. The economic impact of depression in the workplace is estimated at $34 billion annually—$11 billion for treatment, $11 billion in decreased productivity, and $12 billion in absenteeism. Depression affects about 19 million people, 70 percent of whom are in the workforce. (Figures are according to Braun Consulting News.
Engaging in RMM reduces depression. Recent research with long-term care workers showed reduced depression (21.8 percent) six weeks after the completion of an RMM program consisting of one hour per week. (Source: A 2003 study conducted by Trip Umbach Healthcare Consulting, Inc.)
RMM can help companies reduce turnover, saving them millions. The research with long-term care workers showed an 18.3 percent overall reduction of employee turnover by implementing an RMM program. The total annual savings was projected at $1.46 billion. Every worker can participate in RMM. There are no physical limitations or requirements. http://www.wannaplaymusic.com/why-play-music/adults
Making Music Boosts Brain's Language Skills
Most recently brain-imaging studies have shown that music activates many diverse parts of the brain, including an overlap in where the brain processes music and language. Language is a natural aspect to consider in looking at how music affects the brain, Patel said. Like music, language is "universal, there's a strong learning component, and it carries complex meanings." Harvard Medical School neuroscientist Gottfried Schlaug stated at a press briefing that "The underdeveloped systems on the right side of the brain that respond to music became enhanced and changed structures,". Overall, Schlaug said, the experiments show that "music might be an alternative medium for engaging parts of the brain that are otherwise not engaged." Nina Kraus, director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University in Illinois added that musical training, whatever the age, should be universally encouraged, since it can play a key role in education, clinical therapies, and even in protective measures for keeping the brain sharp as people age. "Plus," she said, "it's just inherently wonderful."http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/02/100220-music-brains-language-stroke-dyslexia/
Playing music increases human growth hormone (HgH) production among active older Americans. The findings revealed that the test group who took group keyboard lessons showed significantly higher levels of HgH than the control group of people who did not make music (University of Miami).
Parkinson's Disease and Stroke: Rhythmic cues can help retrain the brain after a stroke or other neurological impairment, according to Michael Thaurt, director of Colorado State University's Center of Biomedical Research in Music.
Cancer Subjects who participated in a clinical trial using the Health Rhythms protocol showed an increase in natural killer cell activity and an enhanced immune system. While this does not indicate a cure for cancer, such results may be of benefit for those facing this disease. (Bittman, Berk, Felten, Westengard, Simonton, Pappas, Ninehouser, 2001, Alternative Therapies, vol. 7, no. 1).
More than a feeling
Emotionally evocative, yes, but music goes much deeper. Over the past decade or so, studies have shown that music stimulates numerous regions of the brain all at once, including those responsible for emotion, memory, motor control, timing and language. While the lyrics of a song activate language centers, such as Broca’s area, other parts of the brain may connect the tune to a long-ago association — a first kiss or a road trip down the coast, perhaps. “It’s like the brain is on fire when you’re listening to music,” says Istvan Molnar-Szakacs, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “In terms of brain imaging, studies have shown listening to music lights up, or activates, more of the brain than any other stimulus we know.” Getting chills - Listening to music you find moving can change activity in brain areas associated with emotion and reward. One study found that blood flow increased in the midbrain and ventral striatum (left-hand images) and decreased in the ventral medial prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and amygdala. - http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/61575/title/More__than_a_feeling
Lowers heart rate
Playing music "significantly" lowered the heart rates and calmed and regulated the blood pressures and respiration rates of patients who had undergone surgery (Bryan Memorial Hospital in Lincoln, Neb., and St. Mary's Hospital in Mequon, Wis.)
Anger Management Music therapy can help people identify the emotions that underlie anger and increase the patient's awareness of these feelings and situations that can trigger them. If a situation or emotion is presented in a song the healthy options for expressing that feeling can be discussed and conflict resolution and problem solving can be practiced in a positive manner.
Music helps one learn new subjects
Still another area of interest to researchers concerns the cognitive effects of musical instruction. Some researchers have studied the effect of different types of teaching styles (Altenmuller et al., as cited in Weinberger, 1997); others have focused increasingly on explaining how musical instruction affects other areas of learning (Douglas & Willatts, 1994; Gardiner et al., 1996; Weber et al., as cited in Overy, 2000).
Researchers at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) have demonstrated how much the brain can learn simply through active exposure to many different kinds of music. “More and more labs are showing that people have the sensitivity for skills that we thought were only expert skills,” Henkjan Honing (UvA) explains. “It turns out that mere exposure makes an enormous contribution to how musical competence develops.”* The results were recently presented at the Music & Language conference, organized by Tufts University in Boston, and will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Performance and Perception.<http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080813110453.htm>
Better IQ, intelligence, Focus and Memory - Brain total development Lutz Jäncke, a psychologist at the University of Zurich, said: "Learning to play a musical instrument has definite benefits and can increase IQ by seven points, in both children and adults. "We found that even in people over the age of 65 after four or five months of playing a instrument for an hour a week there were strong changes in the brain. "The parts of the brain that control hearing, memory, and the part that controls the hands among others, all become more active. Essentially the architecture of the brain changes. "For children especially we found that learning to play the piano for instance teaches them to be more self-disciplined, more attentive and better at planning. All of these things are very important for academic performance, so can therefore make a child brighter. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/6447588/Playing-a-musical-instrument-makes-you-brainier.html
Music Thought To Enhance Intelligence, Mental Health And Immune System Another study in the volume looks at whether music training can make individuals smarter. Scientists found more grey matter in the auditory cortex of the right hemisphere in musicians compared to nonmusicians. They feel these differences are probably not genetic, but instead due to use and practice. Listening to classical music, particularly Mozart, has recently been thought to enhance performance on cognitive tests. Contributors to this volume take a closer look at this assertion and their findings indicate that listening to any music that is personally enjoyable has positive effects on cognition. - The Neurosciences and Music <http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/06/060622172738.htm>
Music learning affects the brain – not in that trivial sense that music makes us smarter, but – as neuroscience has shown by brain imaging technologies – music making causes structural and functional differences in the brain such as gray matter volume differences in motor and auditory brain regions (Gaser 2003) or stronger brain asymmetries in musicians (Schlaug 2003; Gaab 2003). These differences which have been documented by several fMRI studies can be referred to learning, or the other way around: learning can be described in terms of functional and structural brain changes.
Dr. Frank Wilson is an assistant clinical professor neurology at the University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco. He reports that his studies show that instrumental practice enhances coordination, concentration and memory and also brings about the improvement of eyesight and hearing. He further reports that the process of learning to play an instrument refines the development of the brain and the entire neurological system (Mueller, 1984).
The study recruited 70 healthy adults age 60 to 83 who were divided into groups based on their levels of musical experience. The musicians performed better on several cognitive tests than individuals who had never studied an instrument or learned how to read music. The research findings were published online in the APA journal Neuropsychology.
"Musical activity throughout life may serve as a challenging cognitive exercise, making your brain fitter and more capable of accommodating the challenges of aging," said lead researcher Brenda Hanna-Pladdy, PhD. "Since studying an instrument requires years of practice and learning, it may create alternate connections in the brain that could compensate for cognitive declines as we get older." http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-04/apa-cml042011.php
Music Moves Brain To Pay Attention, Study Finds. Using brain images of people listening to short symphonies by an obscure 18th-century composer, a research team from the Stanford University School of Medicine has gained valuable insight into how the brain sorts out the chaotic world around it. The research team showed that music engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention, making predictions and updating the event in memory. Peak brain activity occurred during a short period of silence between musical movements - when seemingly nothing was happening. - Stanford University Medical Center <http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070801122226.htm>
Researchers at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) have demonstrated how much the brain can learn simply through active exposure to many different kinds of music. “More and more labs are showing that people have the sensitivity for skills that we thought were only expert skills,” Henkjan Honing (UvA) explains. <http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080813110453.htm>
Music improves relationships and bonding
Music makes the people come together: By Diana Boer. Thesis - Victoria University of Wellington. This thesis examined the social psychological functions of music across cultures. It investigated two social functions in detail: music preferences as expressions of personal and cultural values, and the social bonding function of shared music preferences. <http://researcharchive.vuw.ac.nz/handle/10063/1155?show=full>
"Music is social communication between individuals," says Liisa Ukkola. "Darwin proposed that singing is used to attract the opposite sex. Furthermore, lullabies are implied to attach infant to a parent and singing or playing music together may add group cohesion. Thus, it is justified to hypothesize that music perception and creativity in music are linked to the same phenotypic spectrum of human cognitive social skills, like human bonding and altruism both associated with AVPR1A. We have shown for the first time in the molecular level that music perception has an attachment creating impact." published in PLoS ONE.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090526093925.htm>
The skills gained through sequential music instruction, including discipline and the ability to analyze, solve problems, communicate and work cooperatively, are vital for success in the 21st century workplace. (Source: U.S. House of Representatives, Concurrent Resolution 355, March 6, 2006.)
It has also been found that through involvement in group music activities on the high school level, individuals learn to support each other, maintain commitment and bond together for group goals. The process is a significant part of improved self-esteem.19 Sward, in writing about Fred Miller, president of the Miller Summer Clinics, says that Miller has found that musical experiences "instill: 1)positive attitude; 2) positive self image; 3) desire to achieve excellence; 4) co-operation; 5) group cohesiveness; and 5) ability to set goals." Eisner writes about the importance of arts in education because they develop intellectual and aesthetic abilities. http://www.childrensmusicworkshop.com/advocacy/studentdevelopment.html>
To elucidate the neurobiological basis of music in human evolution and communication the researchers demonstrated an association of arginine vasopressin receptor 1A (AVPR1A) gene variants with musical aptitude. In the previous studies the AVPR1A gene and its homologies have been associated with social, emotional and behavioral traits, including pair bonding and parenting. The results suggest that the neurobiology of music perception and production is related to the pathways affecting intrinsic attachment behavior. <http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090526093925.htm>
Left and Right sides of frontal-lobes
The very best engineers and technical designers in the Silicon Valley industry are, nearly without exception, practicing musicians. Grant Venerable, "The Paradox of the Silicon Savior," as reported in "The Case for Sequential Music Education in the Core Curriculum of the Public Schools," The Center for the Arts in the Basic Curriculum, New York, 1989. <http://www.childrensmusicworkshop.com/advocacy/benefits.html>
Supporting what many of us who are not musically talented have often felt, new research reveals that trained musicians really do think differently than the rest of us. Vanderbilt University psychologists have found that professionally trained musicians more effectively use a creative technique called divergent thinking, and also use both the left and the right sides of their frontal cortex more heavily than the average person. The research by Crystal Gibson, Bradley Folley and Sohee Park is currently in press at the journal Brain and Cognition.
Furthermore, in professional musicians, the anatomical difference between the larger, dominant (mostly right) hand area and the smaller, nondominant (left) hand area is less pronounced than in nonmusicians. Motor-learning-related changes in piano players and non-musicians revealed by functional magnetic-resonance signals M. Hund-Georgiadis and D. Yves von Cramon
During a post-test listening exercise, both music instruction groups showed greater electrical activity in the left hemisphere than did the controls. This seems to indicate that a person with musical training may use greater left hemispheric reasoning when analyzing music than someone with no musical training. Weinberger (1997) outlines Eckart Altenmiiller et al.'s A separate study shows that performance in music develops the intellect. These musical activities train the brain in aesthetic literacy and the students' perceptual, imaginative and visual abilities (Sinatra, 1986).
Whitwell (1977) deals with the left brain/right brain issue. He says that when one talks about music, he is using the left side of the brain. To utilize the right side of the brain, one must creatively produce in an activity such as music. He says the "music is independent, separate unique from of intellect, a form of intellect through which man can communicate directly in its own inherent form" (p9). Whitwell chides the educational system for only educating half a brain. He points out that most attention or day-dreaming, the answer is to involve the right side of the brain in the learning process. Whitwell says that the complete man must have equal access to both domains (left and right brain) of understanding and this access has to include a creative activity such as the performance of music. <http://www.childrensmusicworkshop.com/advocacy/studentdevelopment.html>
Dr. Wilson shared recent data from UCLA brain scan research studies which shows that music more fully involves brain functions (both left and right hemispheres) than any other activities studied. Dr. Wilson feels these findings are so significant that it will lead to a universal understanding in the next century that music is an absolute necessity for the total development of the brain and the individual. <http://www.childrensmusicworkshop.com/advocacy/studentdevelopment.html>
Creativity and the visual cortex Janata noticed the medial pre-frontal cortex responded quickly to music rhythm and chord changes, but also reacted when tunes were autobiographically relevant. Dr. Janata, a cognitive neuroscientist at University of California, Davis Creativity is an area of the brain mainly the medial prefrontal cortex and can be increased with Jazz Improv and creative Rap
With Jazz Improvisation Large Portion of Brain’s Prefrontal Region to Let Creativity Flow - NIDCD’s Division of Intramural Research. Charles J. Limb, M.D., Allen R. Braun, M.D and Dr. Limb.
Improvised rap requires activation of visual cortex and cerebellum of the brain
"We were interested in how individuals who are naturally creative look at problems that are best solved by thinking 'out of the box'," Folley said. "We studied musicians because creative thinking is part of their daily experience, and we found that there were qualitative differences in the types of answers they gave to problems and in their associated brain activity." "When we measured subjects' prefrontal cortical activity while completing the alternate uses task, we found that trained musicians had greater activity in both sides of their frontal lobes. Because we equated musicians and non-musicians in terms of their performance, this finding was not simply due to the musicians inventing more uses; there seems to be a qualitative difference in how they think about this information," Folley said. The research by Crystal Gibson, Bradley Folley and Sohee Park is currently in press at the journal Brain and Cognition. Tedd Judd in a speech at the 1984 conference on the Biology of Music-Making entitled, "A Neurologist Looks at Musical Behavior", comes to the conclusion that involvement in music involves many parts of the interconnected brain (Roehmann, 1988).
Music develops listening skills
"It is the doing, in addition to the listening, that offers the greatest positive benefit in all aspects of learning, especially in music" (Wilcox, 1999, p. 31).
A Key for Unlocking Memories - Music Therapy Opens a Path to the Past for Alzheimer's Patients; Creating a Personal Playlist
In addition to benefiting Alzheimer's patients, decades of studies have demonstrated that music can help premature infants gain weight, autistic children communicate, stroke patients regain speech and mobility, dental, surgical and orthopedic patients control chronic pain and psychiatric patients manage anxiety and depression. Now, neuroscientists are starting to identify the underlying brain mechanisms that explain how music connects with the mind and body, and they are starting to work hand in hand with music therapists to develop new therapeutic programs. There's no single center for music in the mind—the brain appears to be wired throughout for music, since it engages a wide variety of functions, including listening, language and movement. But Petr Janata, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of California, Davis's Center for Mind and Brain, recently located an area of the brain—the medial prefrontal cortex, just behind the forehead—that seems to serve as a hub for music, memory and emotions. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704538404574540163096944766.html