How Music Affects The Brain

Music improves brain health and function in many ways. It makes you smarter, happier, and more productive at any age. Listening is good, playing is better. that why we wish to let you know about “How does listening to music affect the brain” which will all be explained fully by this main artist.

Music has played an important part in every human culture, both past, and present.

People around the world respond to music in a universal way. 

And now, advances in neuroscience enable researchers to measure just how music affects the brain.

The interest in the effects of music on the brain has produced a new field of research called neuromusicology which explores how the nervous system reacts to music. How does listening to music affect the brain?

And the evidence is in — music activates every part of the brain. 

Playing, or even just listening to, music can make you smarter, happier, healthier, and more productive at all stages of life.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the latest findings about the ways music can enhance the health and function of the brain.

How does listening to music affect the brain


For evidence of how music affects the brain, it makes sense to look at the brains of those who play a lot of music — professional musicians. Brain scans show that their brains are different than those of non-musicians.

Musicians have bigger, better connected, more sensitive brains.  Musicians have superior working memory, auditory skills, and mental flexibility. 

Their brains are physically more symmetrical and respond more symmetrically when listening to music. 

Areas of the brain responsible for motor control, auditory processing, and spatial coordination are larger. 

Musicians also have a larger corpus callosum. 

This is the band of nerve fibers that transfers information between the two hemispheres of the brain.

This increase in size indicates that the two sides of musicians’ brains are better at communicating with each other.

While most of us aren’t professional musicians, we still listen to a lot of music — an average of 32 hours per week. 

This is enough time for music to have an effect on the brains of non-musicians as well.



Science has now proven what music lovers already know, that listening to upbeat music can improve your mood. Listening to and playing music reduces chronic stress by lowering the stress hormone cortisol. 


Related —

How to Reduce Cortisol, the Stress Hormone

Music can make you feel more hopeful, powerful, and in control of your life. 

By increasing endorphins, listening to music can help you cope with pain. 

Listening to sad music has its benefits too.

If you are going through a tough time, listening to sad music can be cathartic. 

It can help you get in touch with your emotions to help you heal.

how music affects brain


One of the ways music affects mood is by stimulating the formation of certain brain chemicals.

Listening to music increases the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Dopamine is the brain’s “motivation molecule” and an integral part of the pleasure-reward system.

It’s the same brain chemical responsible for the feel-good states obtained from eating chocolate, orgasm, and runner’s high.

When listening to a playlist, you can further increase dopamine by choosing the shuffle mode.

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When one of your favorite songs unexpectedly comes up, it triggers an added dopamine boost. 

Playing music with others or enjoying live music stimulates the brain hormone oxytocin. 

Oxytocin has been called the “trust molecule” and the “moral molecule” since it helps us bond with and trust others.

There’s evidence that the oxytocin bump experienced by music lovers can make them more generous and trustworthy. 



There’s abundant evidence that listening to music while you work can make you happier and more productive.

This is especially true if you can choose your own music.

Office workers are allowed to listen to their preferred choice of music complete tasks more quickly and come up with better ideas than those who have no control over their sound environment. 

Background music enhances performance on cognitive tasks, improves accuracy, and enables the completion of repetitive tasks more efficiently.

” When children had as little as four years of music lessons, they experienced long-term cognitive benefits that researchers could detect 40 years later. 

The effects of music on productivity have been studied in some very specific occupations.

Software developers were happier and produced better work more efficiently when listening to music.

When surgeons listened to music while operating, they were less stressed out and worked faster and more accurately, especially if they were allowed to pick the music. 

Music can help people perform better in high-pressure situations.

Listening to upbeat music before a game can keep athletes from choking under pressure.

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Music is a source of creativity, especially when it’s upbeat.

When study participants listened to music labeled “happy,” their creativity went up.


They came up with more creative solutions and a greater number of ideas than those who listened to other kinds of music or no music at all. How does listening to music affect the brain. Interestingly, participants didn’t have to like the music they were hearing to reap these benefits.



Music has the power to bring forth our better nature.

Some interesting studies have been done on what researchers refer to as prosocial behaviors.

These are voluntary behaviors intended to benefit others, such as empathy, kindness, generosity, helpfulness, and cooperation.

Listening to music makes people more inclined to spend time and energy helping others. 

This is especially pronounced when music is appreciated in a group such as when people dance or play music with others, or attend a concert.

This prosocial effect of music has been observed in both children and adults. 

Music has been found to make children as young as 14 months more helpful. 

The most effective music has lyrics advocating kindness and helpfulness.

A classic example of a prosocial song is We Are the World which has been performed for many humanitarian purposes.

Listening to positive lyrics can affect how kind and generous you will be and even how you’ll spend your money. 

Restaurant customers leave bigger tips when music with positive messages is played during their meal. 

Prosocial lyrics can even encourage coffee shop customers to buy fair trade coffee. 

Positive song lyrics help make people less prejudiced and fearful of those different than them. 

When men listen to music with pro-equality lyrics, it positively affects their attitudes and behavior towards women. 



In the 1990s, the effect of music on the brain was popularized as the Mozart effect.

This theory purported that listening to music composed by Mozart made kids smarter.


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Parents exposed their babies to the music of Mozart to give their brains a jumpstart, often even before they were born.

The accepted theory now is that, while taking music lessons as a child enhances brain function and structure, there’s nothing uniquely beneficial about the music of Mozart.

Children with musical backgrounds do better in subjects like language, reading, and math and have better fine motor skills than their non-musical classmates. 

Early music lessons encourage brain plasticity, the brain’s capacity to change and grow. 

Just a half-hour music lesson increases blood flow in the left hemisphere of the brain. 

And if kids don’t stick with their music lessons forever, that’s OK.

There’s evidence that when music training begins young, the brain enhancement that takes place can last a lifetime.

When children had as little as four years of music lessons, they experienced long-term cognitive benefits that researchers could detect 40 years later.

Kids who sing together in a choir report higher satisfaction in all their classes, not just music. 

Most studies on music and the brain have been done on school-age kids.

But it looks like it’s never too young to start.

Music lessons of sorts — playing drums and singing nursery rhymes — were given to babies before they could walk or talk. 

Babies who had music lessons communicated better and showed earlier and more sophisticated brain responses to music.


Many schools have cut music programs due to a loss of funding.

This is widely believed by parents and educators to be a big mistake.

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Music, whether taught in or outside of school, helps students excel in the following ways: 

improved language development

improved test scores

increased brain connectivity

increased spatial intelligence

the modest increase in IQ

Perhaps counterintuitively, music can help students excel in science.

Spatial intelligence, for instance, helps students understand how things work together.


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