January 16, 2017

The Healing Power of Music

“I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah”[1]

These words from the song Hallelujah made famous by the movie Shrek indicate a power in music known from ancient times.

Though David used what we would call “crude” instruments and chords, there was a power in the music to calm the soul of his employer and king, Saul. It worked so well that Saul kept him around, in spite of his envy of David. (Saul was known to throw a spear or two at David while he was playing.)

Today, we have so much music available to us! We don’t have to be in the presence of a musician to hear their music. Music is ubiquitous. We wake up to music. We listen to music on our way to work or to school. We listen to music when we are at work. We listen to music when we work out. Music is in the background at the restaurant when we eat lunch, or at the café when we meet for a coffee. Music is in the background at the grocery story and the shops we visit for almost everything. For some people, music is what lulls them to sleep at night.

But not all music is equal. We can choose music for its healing power, for our enjoyment, or to set our mood.

Music on the Mind

Our ears convey so much more information to our brains than just words. Music is brain-food. It can keep an aging brain healthy. Click to Tweet.

Research with SPECT and Functional MRI scans reveal that many areas of the brain are stimulated by music. [2]

Listening to music can change your brain chemistry. It can improve auditory and verbal memory, focused attention and mood. For example:

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