by Mickey Forgione
Music is one of the most widely spread cultural devices throughout history. Almost all races and cultures have their own unique musical instruments or pieces. Today, when we think of music, the image of teenagers with earbuds sitting in a corner and staring at their cell phones may come to mind. However, music is actually beneficial in many ways, and not just to humans.
One of these applications is to help plants grow faster. Scientific studies have shown that playing music in something like a greenhouse causes the plants to grow larger and faster. It is believed that the reason for this phenomenon is that the rhythmic sound waves and vibrations of music help the plant to align its cells, resulting in expediated growth.
A use that hits a little closer to home is that music can slow down and modify your brain waves. Now, before you freak out about the government using music to control your mind, that is not what goes on there. Slower brain simply mean, at least in humans, that you are relaxed and peaceful. So, if you have trouble getting to sleep at night, try putting on some Beethoven. Also, if you happen to be one of the many students who studies frantically until 2 AM the night before finals, some ambient Mozart melodies will probably help with that. (Not that I am recommending studying right before an exam, mind you.) Other things that music can do with your brain waves is help you to focus. Employers that play ambient calming music in their establishments usually find up to 30% increases in productivity!
Another handy application is that both learning to play music and listening to it greatly increase your ability to memorize things. Studies have shown that children who play music tend to be in the top of their class when it comes to academics. Also, these children have an easier time memorizing things like vocabulary and various pattern-based information. Studies have also shown that even if you start to learn music at age 35, you will still in gain the benefits!
Besides academics, playing and listening to music gives your immune system a boost. Even something like singing that does not require an instrument or something as simple as drumming a beat on a tabletop will help. Scientific research demonstrates that musicians have less susceptibility to various disease. Also, the research shows that musicians have better health overall.
Not surprisingly, music has some more therapeutic applications as well. A certain type of tune, called a binaural beat, is used to treat things such as chronic headaches and migraines. If you have ever had a migraine, you will know that is not a fun time. A binaural beat is a composition of sound consisting of two differing frequencies. The different frequencies are delivered to each ear by headphones. The resonance between the two frequencies can affect the brain in numerous ways. The infamous Lavender Town song was an unintentional example of a binaural beat. People who listen to the song with headphones on often respond that the song makes them feel nauseated or depressed.
In our society today, one of the most important aspects of music is the social aspect. Musicians tend to either play for and audience or with other musicians, thus allowing for, and in some cases requiring increased levels of interaction. So, music helps to bring people together as well.
To conclude, what do you have to lose by learning to play music or even just listening to it? Nothing. The effects of learning to play still carry over even if you aren't exactly a young prodigy. If you are an employer, try playing background music in your establishment. The results may surprise you! If you garden as a hobby or as a “kinda-sorta” thing, you might invest in a quiet speaker in your greenhouse. So, if you take anything away from this article, it should be that music should be a part of your life, whether it's listening or playing.