1. Patients with Alzheimers exhibit improved brain function when exposed to music
A recent study showed that patients with moderate to advanced dementia showed increased cognitive understanding when singing hit songs from classic musicals like The Sound of Music or The Wizard of Oz. The effect likely translates to “hipper” music, too.
2. Music can help premature babies gain weight and grow faster
Nine separate studies tracking the growth rate of premature children all came to the same conclusion: playing soothing music helped babies grow at a faster rate. It’s said that music helps distract babies from pain, which allows them to focus on eating.
3. It can help you study better
Research has shown that the right music can improve your concentration and soothe your mind, allowing you to more effectively study for school or work. The best music appears to be classical, ambient, and other soft genres.
4. Music makes solar panels function better
The cells inside a solar panel react to the sonic vibrations that music produces. As a result, experiments with rock and pop music have improved panel performance by up to 40%. On the other hand, if you love both Mozart and going green, classical music will improve performance too, but not quite as well.
5. Music with a tempo that matches your exercising speed can help you work out longer
Lots of people work out with music, but there’s a chance you’re doing it wrong. Experts suggest that music that starts slowly, but gradually builds up in speed and intensity, can improve your gym routine, as that pattern closely resembles how most people actually work out.
6. It can help treat clinical depression
Though music therapy is no substitute for traditional counseling and consulting with your doctor, it has been shown to aid in combatting depression. Making basic music, even if it’s just percussion, is a great way for depressed and anxious people to express themselves and more effectively keep their feelings in check.
7. It can help get you back on track at work
It’s not always easy to concentrate at work, especially with so many animal pictures to explore. Music can help though, by taking your wandering, distracted mind and making it follow a single path. While listening to your favorite tunes, it becomes easier to keep your eyes and mind on stuff the boss actually pays you to think about.
8. It can help relieve the suffering of cancer patients
Cancer ravages the body, both physically and mentally. While music can’t do much to help the body of a cancer patient, it’s been shown to absolutely help the brain. Patients who regularly listen to music report less anxiety, stress, and pain than those who don’t, and without those burdens, therapy and treatment become far easier.
9. People undergoing brain surgery are using music to de-stress during the operation
Brain surgery patients have to stay awake the entire time, in order to perform various tests throughout the procedure. Recent studies show that offering headphones full of melodic music can de-stress patients, even to the point of them falling asleep. Luckily, all researchers had to do was remove the headphones and relay test instructions to the patients. Once the tests were complete, the headphones went back, on and the patients went back to sleep.
10. Being a musician can help prevent hearing loss
As long as you don’t crank up the volume to 111 like The Who did, training yourself in music can actually prevent hearing loss as you age. Those who are good with music develop a stronger ear, one that can process tones better than non-musicians; this gift can easily extend into old age.
11. Happy music may actually be good for your heart
We all love a good sad song every now and then, but our heart would much prefer we get up and be happy. Research has shown that music can produce the same cardiovascular benefits as smiling and laughing. The more upbeat the music, the better off your heart will be.
12. It can make people feel less pain
Patients who are chronically in pain or about to undergo painful procedures might be able to use music to soften the blow, studies are finding. The music allows people to focus their mind on something other than discomfort, anxiety, or pain.
13. Children who practice music develop a better verbal memory
Even if your child doesn’t grow up to be a musician, training at a young age can be greatly beneficial. Memorizing sheet music and chords improves children’s verbal memory, which extends well beyond musical life.
14. Musical training can keep the mind sharp into old age
Senility and dementia are a horrible way to close out one’s life; luckily, it seems that pumping up the jams can help. Research has revealed that elderly people who took music lessons and listened intently to other people’s tunes scored much higher on cognitive tests than elderly people who did neither.
15. Listening to music helps stroke victims recover faster
While it certainly doesn’t cure post-stroke effects on its own, music has been shown to aid patients’ recovery. If they listened to a couple hours of music every day, their verbal memory improved, and they were able to pay closer attention to what was going on around them. Improved speech and complete recovery won’t be too far behind.
16. Relaxing music has the same stress-relieving capabilities as massage
Massages are awesome, but expensive. So substitute your weekly rubdown for daily soothing music, and you’ll see the exact same stress-relieving results. Plus, you can dance if you like.
17. It can help reduce blood pressure
Reportedly, all it takes is half an hour a day of listening to classical, Indian, or Celtic music, and people with high blood pressure will experience a major drop in their hypertension levels. The benefits of Miley Cyrus remain unconfirmed.
18. Soothing music can help insomniacs sleep better
Insomnia is an incredibly frustrating condition, one that music can help eliminate. In various tests, patients who listened to 45 minutes of soothing music before bedtime slept better and stayed in deep sleep longer than those who simply counted sheep.
19. It can make you a better speaker
Not only does playing music sharpen your hearing, it can also make you a better speaker. Those who practice music show enhanced brain power, as well as improved hearing. Both are instrumental in picking up the subtle changes in tone necessary for interesting and engaging speech.
20. Music helps unite the two sides of your brain
The general rule is that most people use one side of their brain more than the other — analytical people are left side dominant while creative types use their right side more, for example. However, research has shown musicians use both sides on a regular basis. You need to be creative in order to write good, interesting music, while you need to be analytical and mathematical to read and understand music in the first place.
21. It helps children learn to read
Practicing music can obviously help children learn to read music, but it can also help them learn to read books. Two schools were studied: one that offered three years of piano education, and one that did not. Results showed that the musical school overall score had better vocabulary and verbal sequencing scores than the non-musical school.
22. If you’re writing a story, music can help you write better scenes and characters
Writers struggling to advance their plot or stuck trying to compose the perfect ending might simply need to turn on their iPod. The right music, interpreted the right way, can open up a creative mind even more, allowing the writer to see their characters and scenery in a brand-new light. And who knows? That light could lead to the one breakthrough you need to finish your epic tale.
23. It can help autistic children communicate better
Autistic children have difficulty communicating with others, but it turns out music is a great way to help them express themselves. As long as the music is played with them in mind (simplistic rhythm, easy melody, gentle sound), an autistic child is likely to respond positively and interact with others better than before.
24. Music can help us recover our memories
A recent study showed that music can help recover memories lost to severe brain damage. Snippets of songs from the victim’s lifetime were played at random, and the same was done to a control group with no brain injuries. The number of memories conjured up turned out to be the same for both groups, suggesting that music is a trigger for the brain, no matter how damaged it may be.
Music is more than entertainment. In fact, it might be the very reason we’ve survived and thrived for so long.