The Psychology of Music

In uncertain times, we can be prone to worry, anxiety, stress or depression. How we respond to change determines what our experience of events happening around us; if we have built up our resilience through life experience, we are more likely to have effective coping mechanisms.

Scientists have proved that musical experiences can help us to build the basis of positive mental health and can aid the development of cognitive abilities throughout our life. It is no wonder so many of us are turning to our favourite musicians for solace during the Covid-19 pandemic.

So what is it about music that it makes such a huge impact in our lives?

This intangible, invisible force has the power to change our mood, emotions, memory, make us dance, keep a beat. Its functions are so versatile - for enjoyment, entertainment, exercise and motivation, advertising and marketing, religious and spiritual ceremonies, as well as therapeutic purposes (to name but a few!).

With the advancement of technology and investment in the field of Neuroscience, there is increasing scientific proof demonstrating the benefits of playing an instrument, specifically in relation to brain function and development.

Music can relieve stress, anxiety and help with mental health, developmental and learning difficulties from young infants to the elderly. It helps with cognitive therapy, early learning development (for young children), and also with Alzheimers and other conditions primarily affecting the elderly.

We are all born with a naturally musical ear in order to recognise tones and inflections in the voices of our parents. This assists us to interpret moods and feelings very early on. Eventually, it aids in the development of language.

From an early age, we learn to distinguish different sounds and tones, and sometimes we can learn to develop relative pitch, and - in rare cases - perfect pitch.

"Relative pitch" is the ability to correctly determine the pitch of a musical note (how high or low it is) in relation to another sound or pitch. For example, I might be able to sing the note 'middle C' every time I hear the "Friends" theme tune.

"Perfect pitch" means that I can sing the "Friends" theme tune exactly as it sounds on the TV without needing to hear it beforehand.

Experts say it is most beneficial fo a person to begin learning music before the age of 7, and that music education is good exercise for the brain.

The video below is excellent by way of explaining these concepts, and showing how music could actually change our world..

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