How Music Works with the Brain

By: Viviana Cajigas

In The Begining

From birth the brain has mechanisms that classify certain combinations of musical tones as either pleasant or distasteful. Some studies even show that while we are still inside the womb that we all ready start forming our taste in music. As babies we can hear sounds from inside our mothers which means whatever she hears we hear. The music that she listens to is heard by use and we determine if we like it or not.
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Musical Training

Several studies have shown that musical training can enhance the function of important regions in the brain and improve mental ability. People with no musical training remember an average of about 13 words. Those who have musical training recall about 15% or 16% more words. However individuals with musical training do not have better visual memory skills. Playing an instrument also enhances the abilities of the cerebellum which is where balance and coordination. The cerebellums of musicians are 5% larger. Elaborate finger movements regularly required of musicians help spur the growth of new brain cells in the region.
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Studies on the Brain

The right side of the brain has always been associated with a more artistic side to it, while the left side of the brain is associated with a more rational, scientific side. Scientists have discovered that musicians use several areas on both sides of the brain for listening, reading, and playing music. This contradicts the common belief that the musical center of the brain is only in the right side of the brain.
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Emotions and the Brain

Throughout human history music has been used to express and affect human emotions. It can be an effective tool for the mentally or emotionally ill. Children can experience improved self-esteem through musical activities that allow them to succeed.
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Music Therapy

Music therapy has a striking effect on patients with Alzheimer's disease, it sometimes allows them to focus and become responsive for a time. Musical therapist's set goals on an individual basis. Depending on the reason for treatment they select specific activities and exercises to help the patient progress. Some techniques used are singing, listening to music, instrumental music, composition, creative movement, guided imagery, and other methods. Some patients may develop musical abilities as a result of therapy. Learning how to play an instrument is an excellent musical activity to develop motor skills in individuals with development delays, brain injuries, or other motor impairments

Work Cited

“Babies Notice The Qualities of Music.” Today's Science. Infobase Learning, Apr. 1997. Web. 3 Mar. 2016. <>.

“Brain Scans Find Where Music Is Made.” Today's Science. Infobase Learning, Sept. 1992. Web. 3 Mar. 2016. <>.

“Music Aids Memory, Scientists Say.” Today's Science. Infobase Learning, Feb. 1999. Web. 3 Mar. 2016. <>.

Turner, Judith. "Music Therapy." The Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology. Ed. Bonnie Strickland. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2001. 443-444. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 3 Mar. 2016.