Music has always been the common denominator between all cultures, from the most primitive to the most advanced. Voluntarily or not, we humans make music: we sing and hum, we clap our hands, we snap our fingers, and so forth. The brain is wired to differentiate simple noise from actual music, by recognising tones, tunes and rhythm. Scientists still cannot determine whether that is a biologic accident or it serves a purpose, however several studies have shown that music can enhance human health and cognitive function.
The “Mozart effect” is the most notorious mental influence of music. Due to the fact that musicians usually have striking mathematical ability, researchers at the University of California, Irvine, decided to investigate. They provided three groups of college students with standard IQ test questions; they compared those who had spent ten minutes listening to a Mozart piano sonata with those who had listened to a relaxation tape and a group that had been waiting in silence. Mozart’s music resulted in boosting test scores. So, how does it help? Apparently, listening to music warms up selected brain cells, allowing them to process information quickly and efficiently.
Additionally, because music allows people to express their emotions, it can also alter them. It’s a stress management tool: Native American, Celtic, Indian stringed-instruments, drums and flutes quiet and relax the mind, even when played loud. Attending concerts, listening to any kind of music play a significant role in our everyday life; today’s doctors tell us that music can slow the heart rate, lower blood pressure, reduce levels of stress hormones and, surprisingly, provide relief even to heart attack or stroke victims.
We’re now discussing the matter, but several influential figures have already spoken about it in the past: Plato once explained that “Music is moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything else”, and Victor Hugo wrote that “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”, Shakespeare proclaimed that “If music be the food of love, play on”. After all, even the ancient Greeks acknowledged the link between health and music, putting one god, Apollo, in charge of both. It might have been a coincidence, but a little bit of imagination never hurt anybody.