Considerable research is available, done by archeologists, psychologists, neurogists and all sorts of “ists” to support that fact that music plays a key role in our lives and our ability to communicate. Many believe that the ability to communicate through music came before the ability to communicate through speech.
Language and music share the same brain properties. They are both vocal (through speech and song) and gestural (like in sign language, instrumental music and dance), and can come in written format. Both are hierarchical elements of the brain in that words and tones (acoustic elements) combine with utterances and melodies (phrases) that can progress to stories and symphonies. Both are a product of head and body movement that transmit information from one brain connection to another.
From the time we are born, and our mother sings us a lullaby to soothe us to sleep, we are surrounded by music in some form or another. Actually, we are subject to it before that, invetro. Using your brain for music and language entails a large number of resources. It requires managing information on thousands of words, syntactic construction, and interconnections. There is muscle movement, the hearing system that interprets and translates the sounds and melodies it hears, and the frontal lobe that processes the information. These are just to name a few.
Music is central to the development and maintenance of our brain. It integrates our brain’s emotional, rational and movement systems in such a way that no other activity does. Language is about learning, but music is about feeling, and both elements are needed for communication. Music taps into our deepest emotions when words fail us.
Music puts us in tune with our bodies. Our bodies vibrate at about eight cycles per second, which corresponds to the fundamental vibrating rate of the earth itself. Every part of our body absorbs sound radiation, and our vibrational rates have a direct impact on our general health and well-being. That is why music can calm us down, or rev us up, heal us and reduce pain, relieve stress and stimulate our creative juices. Music has its own language, and it communicates that language throughout our bodies and our brain through sound vibrations.
Due to modern technology and brain imaging devices, researchers have been able to determine that music activates many different regions of our brains, including memory, immune response, stress response, and emotions. They have proven the theory that music stimulates activity among all regions of the brain (coherence), and you don’t have to be a trained musician to appreciate the impact it has on our lives.
In his book “Music with the Brain in Mind,” Eric Jensen lists different areas of the brain that are activated by different types of music. He adds that there are regions of the brain activated no matter what type of music is being played. Most active is the left hemisphere (Broca’s area) of the brain, especially when listening to familiar music (except when the listener was trying to remember the title to the music). This would suggest that all familiar sounds (language or musical) are processed in Broca’s area of the brain.
Music can be used in the classroom to activate the neural circuits necessary for spatial reasoning tasks, language, reading, math, art, creativity and emotions. It can also be used in sports training to conceptualize space and teach rhythm and fluid execution of movement. It has such a widespread impact in our lives, and in our brains by adjusting our moods and heightening our awareness.
If math is the language of the gods, music is their muse. Due to the fact that most school systems have cut back or completely eliminated their musical programs it may do well to come up with an alternate way of increasing our children’s appreciation of music and enhance their ability to learn outside the school systems.
This is Ron White, two-time USA Memory Champion , memory training expert, and memory keynote speaker.
Brain Connection – Massage And Music: A Brain Connection Reader’s Intriguing Commentary :http://brainconnection.positscience.com/content/240_1
Language and Brain, Neurocognitive Linguistics: http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~lngbrain/main.htm