Many of us will have regularly experienced the effects of music – from comforting us when we are sad, to getting us through a workout and even making us sing along and dance around the house. While these effects are so familiar that they seem obvious, music affects the mind and body in many other ways – piano learning platform Skoove, looked into the scientifically proven effects of music below.
The vast majority of us listen to music as we exercise – whether it’s doing cardio or lifting weights at the gym, as music helps us power through. Numerous research has been conducted into this, from as early as 1911, when it was found that cyclists cycled faster when listening to music. The reason for this energising effect is simple – music ‘drowns’ the fatigue signal, distracting our brain from feelings of tiredness. However, it was found that this is mostly true for low to moderate exercise, with high intensity still being as exhausting, even if you are listening to music.
Just as music helps us when we exercise, it can also have a beneficial effect as we try and come up with creative ideas and solutions. However, don’t turn it up too high – research by Oxford University found that moderate background noise is the best for boosting creativity. The reason for why music can boost our creativity is because as we struggle to concentrate on the music and on our thinking, our brains start to think in abstract ways, unleashing creative thinking in the process.
Researchers at Sussex University in the UK and the Max Planck Institute in Germany found that listening to even 50 minutes of uplifting music could give your immunity a boost. Firstly, uplifting music increased the levels of antibodies, which help to fight disease. Secondly, music reduced the levels of cortisol – a stress hormone that compromises the immunity. The same research also found that playing a percussion instrument along with the music also gave the immunity a boost.
Memory and IQ
As we listen to music, numerous parts of our brain become engaged, such as auditory, limbic and motor, which has a positive effect on our cognitive skills. Listening to music has been linked to improving literacy, mathematical skills and even emotional intelligence. The effects are even more pronounced in musicians, or those learning to play a musical instrument – Harvard Medical School research found that musicians had more nerve connectors between the left and right sides of the brain, thus engaging and stimulating all areas of the brain. Additionally, the ‘Mozart effect’ found that listening to baroque music, improved our learning and ability to retain new information.
We have all, at one time or another, experienced a change in mood as we listen to music. Researchers at the University of Missouri confirmed the idea that music improves our mood, however, it does depend on the type of music that you listen to. Upbeat music could work to improve the mood and boost happiness levels, while melancholy music could mimic the feelings of grief. While slow-rhythmed music could make us feel like we are grieving, it also inspired relief, as most people will compare the music to an empathetic friend, who understands and sympathises with their emotions of sadness.
Skoove is an entertaining and individualised way to learn the piano from your computer. Traditionally, learning the piano can seem daunting for novices: learning sheet music, as well as buying and housing a piano. Skoove works across leading web browsers and offers a set of intuitive and responsive courses in contemporary and classical music. Simply sign up, connect your keyboard to your laptop and get playing, while Skoove guides you through from beginner to Bach and the Beatles.