People from around the world, of every language and representing every cultural background, create and listen to music. It is a universal experience that we all share. And now new studies are showing the big benefits of music that go beyond the simple benefit of auditory pleasure and delve into how music can actually help us with our brain and how we process memories.
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Interested? Here are a few of the benefits music has for people who experience memory loss:
Music evokes emotions that connect to memories. Some of the more significant research shows that music is capable of evoking pertinent emotions in even those people with acute Alzheimer's. That's because often people connect music and sounds to specific emotions and memories of places, times, or activities in their lives. Today, many caregivers and people with memory loss are taking advantage of such connection benefits of music to pair music with everyday activities. This pairing creates a rhythm that makes it easier for listeners to recall the organization of the activity and actually improve cognitive ability as the pattern repeats.
While many activities only engage isolated parts of the brain, singing engages multiple parts of the brain. In one of the studies on the benefits of music, it was shown that the act of singing itself engaged the left side of the brain, while the act of also listening and watching others within a singing group engaged the right side of the brain. This sparking and use of multiple parts of the brain acts as a sort of exercise to improve a person's ability to recall and create memories as well as other cognitive activities.
Learning new music actually prevents against further memory loss. The benefits of music aren't just in recalling old memories, but also in creating and storing new memories. Learning a new musical instrument, creating an original song, and singing along with a new musical piece are all great ways to engage and strengthen various areas of the brain. The brain never stops making memory cells, but just like any other muscle, if you don't practice, challenge, and exercise its capabilities, then those memory cells are lost. Musical hobbies are arguably among the best hobbies to protect against future memory loss as well as strengthen current memory capabilities.
The benefits of music aren't just memory-related. Such benefits of music also include emotional, mental, and physical improvements.