The promotion of wellbeing through music is a research based blog discussing the benefits of sound.
Listening to music can be considered a mediator of meditation since the activity can be classified as an attention-related experience through a person’s ability to become absorbed or engaged with the music. Additionally, physical and cognitive entrainment (synchronizing to the rhythm detected in music) are enjoyable activities (Grosse, 2013) that stimulate the release of dopamine (a pleasure chemical) within the striatum (an evolutionary ancient part of the brain). Therefore, since meditation increases eudemonic wellbeing and the pleasure from rhythm increases hedonic wellbeing, listening to music can have a twofold effect on producing feelings of wellbeing (Salimpoor et al., 2013).
According to scientific research the human brain has evolved to receive pleasure from music due to its ability to predict and expect the sound patterns, which suggests rhythmic synchronization to music and other metrically regular sounds is an innate human quality (Zentner & Eerola, 2010). Based on these research findings it may be that the human brains’ natural capacity to seek patterns, proximity, similarity or closure, known as the Gestalt principles (Sabar, 2012), results from the pleasure or feelings of wellbeing that the brain experiences (due to dopamine release) during this activity. Furthermore, after birth, both physical or mental rhythmic synchronization (entrainment), and the pleasure this brings may be a result of the brain associating beat or rhythm with the innate feeling of wellbeing experienced within the safety of the womb, due to being surrounded by the sound of a mother’s heartbeat. Hence, after birth, and throughout life, human beings may be unconsciously driven to seek comfort and/or pleasure through listening to rhythmic sounds.
In conclusion, since wellbeing can be enhanced through listening to enjoyable sounds due to the minds innate tendency to seek out rhythm for its own personal pleasure or feelings of comfort, playing music for young infants may promote self-soothing abilities in a peaceful way. This will also naturally encourage the development of meditation. Additionally, using music as a technique for promoting self-soothing, meditation and wellbeing can be incorporated into a regular routine for children of all ages.
Grosse, S. J. (2013). Brain gym in the pool. Aquatic Research and Education, 7, 72-80. Retrieved from http://www.americankinesiology.org/AcuCustom/Sitename/Documents/DocumentItem/07Grosse_J4177_72-80_ej.pdf
Sabar, S. (2012). Review of Gestalt therapy: 100 key points and techniques. Gestalt Review, 16(2), 203-206.
Salimpoor, V., Van Den Bosch, I., Kovacevic, N., Mcintosh, A., Dagher, a., & Zatorre, R. (2013). Interactions between the nucleus accumbens and auditory cortices predict music reward value. Science, 340(6129), 216-219. doi:10.1126/science.1231059
Zentner, M., & Eerola, T. (2010). Rhythmic engagement with music in infancy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(13), 5768-5773. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1000121107
Additionally research on music for children
Babies’ brains benefit from music lessons, researchers find http://www.mcmaster.ca/opr/html/opr/media/main/NewsReleases/Babiesbrainsbenefitfrommusiclessonsresearchersfind.htm
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