Today’s blog is all about how music impacts EMOTIONS – both in allowing us to identify our emotions and then use music to express how we’re feeling.
We’re in the middle of a series of blogs where we’re exploring why MUSIC MATTERS. So far, we’ve looked at:
It’s easy to see how music affects our moods and emotions. When we play an upbeat song, we can watch a child smile and begin to dance happily along to the beat. That child is experiencing a sense of joy and upliftment from the music.
We can also see this when a parent and child connect through a lullaby. Singing a gentle, sleepy song to a newborn baby is a significant point of bonding for both parent and child.
Research shows that music stimulates emotions through specific brain circuits. But, outside of music affecting the brain as a purely emotional experience, there’s physical stuff going on too.
For example, when that lullaby is being sung, a hormone related to bonding called oxytocin is in all likelihood being released. The “cuddle hormone,” as it’s sometimes called, is often released in response to singing. It’s no surprise then that such a profound emotionally bonding experience happens when a parent sings to his / her child.
In addition, research indicates that music affects mood by producing an array of other benefits when it comes to our physiological make-up.
Listening to music can create peak emotions, which increase the amount of dopamine, a specific neurotransmitter that is produced in the brain and helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centres.
Newfound understandings of how music affects the brain and heart is leading to innovative ways to utilize music and the brain to create emotional understanding between people.
A study from the Journal of Music Therapy shows that using songs as a form of communication could increase emotional understanding in autistic children. The study incorporated specific songs to portray different emotions. For example, a composition by Beethoven could be used to represent sadness, or the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams could be used to represent joy. The children could then indicate and identify emotions based on the songs that represented them. Music succeeded where verbal language failed.
Music is able to bridge the brain and heart!
So, next time you’re listening to a song and it connects with your EMOTIONS, be mindful that your brain is undergoing a significant workout to access, identify and transmit those emotions.
Impacting Emotions is just another reason why MUSIC is such an amazing tool for learning and development and one of the many reasons that #️⃣MUSICMATTERS!
Wriggle and Rhyme is a music programme for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers from 6 months – 6 years old. Our mission is to introduce children to music-based activities in their early years, because:
- music connects with so many different areas of our brains, making it such an effective tool for learning and development!