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Music and the Brain
What is the connection between music and the brain? Is it possible that music can help you think better? The research says yes, and after telling you about some of it, I'll let you in on an even faster way to boost your brain power with music.
Music and the Brain — The Research
The research shows that music actually trains the brain for higher forms of thinking. Listening to, and participating in music also creates new neural pathways in your brain that stimulate creativity. An article in a Newsweek reported on a study from the University of California.
In the study, researchers followed the progress of three-year-olds, split into two groups. The first group had no particular training in, or exposure to music. The second group studied piano and sang daily in chorus. After eight months the musical three-year-olds were much better at solving puzzles, and when tested, scored 80% higher in spatial intelligence than the non-musical group.
Another study on music and the brain, done at UC Irvine's Center for Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, involved 36 students. They were given three spatial reasoning tests on a standard IQ test.
Just before the first test they listened to Mozart's sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K. 448 for ten minutes.
Before the second test, they listened to a relaxation tape.
Before the third, they sat in silence.
The average scores for all 36 students: 1st test: 119. 2nd test: 111. 3rd test: 110.
That's an average increase of 9 IQ points from listening to Mozart. It's assumed that their intelligence didn't increase, but that the music put them in a state that gave them better access to the resources of their brains. However, other studies do show that repeated exposure to slow music can permanently increase you IQ, so play that Mozart!
Brain Wave Entrainment
Your brain wave frequencies vary according to the state you are in. For example, daydreaming and meditation usually take place in the "Alpha" range of frequencies. Alert concentration is in the "Beta" range. "Brain wave entrainment" products have beats, usually embedded in music, that your brain starts to follow.
If you listen to music containing beats at a frequency of 10 Hz (in the Alpha range) it will feel very relaxing. This is because your brain will begin to follow this frequency and reproduce the rhythm in the music. You'll generate more brain waves at a 10 Hz frequency and enter a relaxed Alpha mental state. This is the idea behind brain wave entrainment.
This may be why some types of music have certain effects, but not all brain wave entrainment CDs use music. Som use the raw "binaural beats" as they are sometimes called, embedded in white noise, or in sounds of nature. (I have used these products and find them to be pretty powerful, especially the ones for relaxation.)
Whether you use "binaural beats," or just pop a Mozart CD into the player, you can increase your brain power easily. Try it today. It is doubtful that Mozart will harm you, so why wait for more research to be done on music and the brain?
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