Do you believe in the power of music? If you're like most kids these days, you probably have an electronic device loaded with hundreds or even thousands of your favorite songs. At any moment in time, you can fill your headphones with the sounds of a particular song that suits your mood at that exact time.
Are you getting ready for a big soccer match and need to get pumped up? Maybe some hip hop with a wicked beat will do the trick! Instead, you might be ready to study for a big exam the next day. To calm your nerves and help you concentrate, a little bit of Mozart might make memorization more manageable.
Your personal experience probably tells you that there are all kinds of music for all kinds of moods and situations. You've probably felt the power of music firsthand. We've all been moved by particular songs that spoke to us in specific circumstances.
But is there any scientific evidence of these effects that music seems to have? You bet there is! Scientists have long recognized the power of music. Over the years, many studies have been conducted to examine in greater depth the nature and extent of the effects music has on people.
For example, scientists at the University of Missouri have found that listening to music can improve your mood. Their research lends scientific credibility to the behavior many people have already experienced on their own: listening to upbeat music can brighten your day and boost your mood.
Other studies have shown that upbeat music isn't the only type of music that can be helpful, however. When people are sad or have suffered a personal loss, sad music can be soothing and helpful, because people identify with the tone and lyrics of the music.
Likewise, people under a lot of stress or experiencing frustrating circumstances can benefit from listening to angry music. While angry music might not help you if you're in a normal mood, its aggressive tone can be beneficial when dealing with stressful, frustrating circumstances.
These scientific studies have helped scientists and researchers develop the field of music therapy. According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy is “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals." Today, music therapy is used to help people improve mood, restore energy, and heal more naturally.
Of course, music also has other mental benefits beyond improving our mood. Music can also help our memory. Don't believe us? Try to say your ABCs without singing the tune you learned when you first learned to memorize the alphabet. We bet you can't do it!
Scientific research has shown that pairing music with rhythm and pitch can help to enhance learning and improve recall. Not only does music tend to help us pay attention, but it also can make an otherwise boring task more enjoyable, thus leading to more effective tasks, such as memorization.