Music Improves Memory And Academics

By: Nicholas Qiu Dig-Lit Period 3

Introduction

I knew before that practicing some form of music, such as practicing piano, would help memory, but I've never seen any proof of it. I wanted to see why people say it's true, and why it becomes so intriguing to practice.

My driving question is: How can I prove that music really does improve your memory and academic skills and not a fruitless theory?
I picked this topic to see if music really is helpful in any way, whether it's reflexes, memory, or even emotions. I knew it should do something, but I wanted to find factual information to prove it.

Proof and Information

I have been able to find many facts that can prove this now. For one, listening to pleasurable music has been found to increase the production of dopamine, a compound that stimulates the brain to "feel good". How is this useful? Well, this hasn't been proved fully, but the hippocampus, a section of the brain, is responsible for emotions and memory formation. Also, we can see more of it in real life. Musicians are more adept at processing speech, especially in areas where there are lots of background noise. Learning instruments help boost numeracy and literary skills, remembering more tasks at a higher speed. Also, listening and playing songs has been seen to shift energy levels. For example, playing upbeat music can "energize" tired minds and bodies, while slower music can calm you down.

More Data And My Opinion

Chris Brewer, author of Soundtracks for Learning, calls the use of music as "positive mood management", as well as suggesting that playing or listening to certain types of music can assist effectiveness in certain tasks. Instrumental music tends to help sustain concentration, especially Classical songs from the Baroque period. Aristotle said that music "makes the heart of men glad: so that on this ground alone we may assume that the young ought to be trained in it."

I think now that I know more about this music theory that we can safely assume it is not a real theory (unlike string theory), and I, and hopefully you, can now use music more in your life than before, to live a more successful life.

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