The brain functions in rhythms and therefore responds well to music and many studies support the positive effects musical vibration has on our wellbeing. When music is heard, the brain produces endorphins (feel good) and that is why we all love to listen to our favourite songs.
When we play an instrument and sing, we engage our entire brain, not just listening and feeling, but also engaging our motor skills, cognition, memory, word retrieval, speech centre and more. An article published in National Geographic in 2014 talks about the benefits of playing an instrument… “A growing number of studies show that music lessons in childhood can do something perhaps more valuable for the brain than childhood gains: provide benefits for the long run, as we age, in the form of an added defense against memory loss, cognitive decline, and diminished ability to distinguish consonants and spoken words.” Click here to read the entire article: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/01/140103-music-lessons-brain-aging-cognitive-neuroscience/
Music therapy is becoming more mainstream to help relieve emotional issues and many psycho-therapists are using music as a tool to create positive emotions and a better sense of self. It is known to also have a positive effect on children who have had a traumatic experience.
Tempo is a factor in how the brain responds. Fast tempos can create excitement, happiness and anger. Slow tempos can create feelings of contentment and peace, or sadness. Therefore, if you are angry, you may wish to listen to slow-paced music. Or, if you feel a little down, a snappy happy fast-paced song may elevate your mood.
Other factors come into play such as loudness, composition, etc., and drives either a positive or negative response. I find when I listen to music with a tempo of about 1 beat per second (same as a clock,) I feel the most relaxed and content. It will be different for everyone and I invite you to experiment with your own mood and musical choices.
Anyone who plays an instrument or sings regularly knows how very rewarding this is… so exercise those vocal chords or dust off the piano and start playing! (Yes, I sing in my car and don’t care what anyone thinks!)