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Thread: Music and its affects on the mind/brain

  1. #1

    Music and its affects on the mind/brain

    Has anyone ever heard of the effect that baroque music has on the mind/brain - http://www.cerebromente.org.br/n15/mente/musica.html

    I remember hearing this about 11 years ago, when my friend and I were studying for high school exams. I have to admit it does have some short term effect. I bring this up because the other day, in the evening after work I was tired but I by chance listened to some baroque classical music and it did bring some stillness or calm to my mind. I know inherently that is by no means the kind of calmness, understanding, wisdom, resilience or patience that is "acquired" (i don't what other word to use as one should not have any goal at all when practising) after zazen (shikatanza) practice. Never the less, there is something to this music. A hypothesis provided by the article is

    "Classical music from the baroque period causes the heart beat and pulse rate to relax to the beat of the music. As the body becomes relaxed and alert, the mind is able to concentrate more easily."

    "The power of music to affect memory is quite intriguing. Mozart's music and baroque music, with a 60 beats per minute beat pattern, activate the left and right brain. The simultaneous left and right brain action maximizes learning and retention of information. The information being studied activates the left brain while the music activates the right brain. Also, activities which engage both sides of the brain at the same time, such as playing an instrument or singing, causes the brain to be more capable of processing information."

    Wondering if anyone came across anything pertaining to music and the mind. I just found it that I heard this music and it had a calming effect.

    Mettha.

    Aswini.

    ps. personally i listen to hildergarde when going to bed http://youtube.com/watch?v=P90oqF19NuY[/video]] . First started listening to gregorian chant when I was 10 or so.

  2. #2

    Re: Music and its affects on the mind/brain

    The liner notes to Ronnie Nyogetsu Seldin's album Komuso: The Healing Art of Zen Shakuhachi describe ways and effects of listening to the music that he claims have spiritual, psychological, even physical effects. Guitar Craft may make similar claims, and some participants in that tradition have experience in the study and use of music for healing purposes, some of which is scientific.

  3. #3

    Re: Music and its affects on the mind/brain

    There are several good books about the various perspectives on music's power, or lack thereof.

    Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks
    Music and the Mind by Anthony Storr
    This is Your Brain on Music by Levitin

    are three respected titles. I have read Storr's and portions of Sacks', but I have not read Levitin's study.

    Gassho,
    Bill

  4. #4

    Re: Music and its affects on the mind/brain

    This is a really interesting subject.

    I've been lucky enough to see how powerful music can be working with people with acquired brain injury. I will always in particular remember one guy I worked with who had such a severe injury he had only small fragments of long term memory which maybe amounted to 4 or 5 events of his life and an idea of who he was, but also next to no short term memory (He was a chain smoker and would literally not want cigarettes constantly as he wouldn't remembe he had one two minutes ago). But despite these memory problems music was so ingrained in him. I would sit and play Anarchy in the UK on the guitar for him and get him to sing and he would remember all the lyrics. He could randomly sing the whole of a range of songs.

    And I can definitely personally vouch for playing instruments as helping concentrate the mind, there's no reason why playing music can't be as meditative an activity as any other practice.

    Something I've noticed is that as I've gotten further into my zen practice the kind of music I want to listen to has changed. I've really gone off what I see as ego music, pretty much most mainstream pop and alternative music. But this could also be attributed to getting older

    I was reading about gnostics some time ago and they would proscribe listening only to clasical music as part of their practice. I don't entirely remembe the rationale but it was related to the idea of ego in music and the response of the brain.

  5. #5

    Re: Music and its affects on the mind/brain

    Thanks ppls. I'll do a bit more reading of things. Maybe in the evenings listen to a bit of baroque and then sit and see if there is a difference in the mind settling comapared to sitting straight away after a long day.

  6. #6

    Re: Music and its affects on the mind/brain

    If I may be permitted to recommend--my favorite to listen and play have always been the Bach Brandenburg concerti. Gassho, Ann

  7. #7
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Music and its affects on the mind/brain

    Quote Originally Posted by Aswini

    "The power of music to affect memory is quite intriguing. Mozart's music and baroque music, with a 60 beats per minute beat pattern, activate the left and right brain. The simultaneous left and right brain action maximizes learning and retention of information. The information being studied activates the left brain while the music activates the right brain. Also, activities which engage both sides of the brain at the same time, such as playing an instrument or singing, causes the brain to be more capable of processing information."
    Music has a lot of power, but the above is ludicrous. First, very little baroque music plays at 60 beats per minute. The above statement suggests that all of Mozart and baroque music play at that speed, which is simply false. The "left brain/right brain" stuff has never been proven, though I'd say that playing an instrument, as any musician knows, is a deeply intense form of meditation; listening, while it can be, is no magic pill.

    Several studies claimed this "Mozart effect" some time ago, but none of them, according to what I have read, were serious enough. As one who listens to a lot of music, I know that it can be relaxing and a form of meditation, but only if one allows it be be so; this is rarely the case with music played just in the background.

    Kirk

  8. #8

    Re: Music and its affects on the mind/brain

    By way of response ot what Kirk has written, I've worked in a day centre with people with a brain injury. Brain injury has all sorts of symptoms, one of the major ones being a reduced ability to sensor and be aware of yourself in terms of how loud you may be or how others may be feeling.

    There would be days when as a group the clients would get each other worked up and excited to a point where there would potentially be some kind of conflict. In these kinds of situations I would purposefully play classical music on the stereo. I don't have any scientific evidence for this, but for whatever reasons more oftne than not it would have a calming effect on the group.

  9. #9

    Re: Music and its affects on the mind/brain

    Hi,

    Was'nt it Shakespeare who said (and I loosely quote), "Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast." Some say it should read "savage breast", but we get the gist.

    Savage beast in my case is monkey mind running around and shitting all over the place!

    Music very much calms it at times and I use it semi-regularly.

    Many blessings,
    lora

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