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Making music improves your health. FACT!

December 3, 2008

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Make music and feel better.

From children to students to OAP’s music is a consistant part of our lifes. Not only does it give us pleasure but it helps keep us happy and healthy. Buckets of research has gone into uncovering direct links between making music and enhancing your well being.

Get Healthy! – Making music improves your health. Evidence from around the globe has proved that playing a musical instrument can:

# Help Asthma sufferers reduce their symptoms

# Relieve stress and increase well-being

# Build muscle strength and aid recovery

# Enhance the function of the immune system


Get Back! – Making music keeps you younger. An increasing amount of research shows that for older people making music can delay the signs of ageing and help with the symptoms of some degenerative diseases. Making music, particularly within a group setting, can:

# Help decrease anxiety, loneliness and depression

# Improve self-esteem

# Help improve memory

# Give a general sense of well-being

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By 2020 over half the population will be over 50 and this ever increasing group will face new challenges in maintaining their health and well-being.

Another study in the volume looks at whether music training can make individuals smarter. Scientists found more grey matter in the auditory cortex of the right hemisphere in musicians compared to non-musicians. They feel these differences are probably not genetic, but instead due to use and practice.

Brain Food

The difference between a catchy tune and a dirge may be which part of the brain the notes activate, says a scientist.

Professor Peter Janata, of Dartmouth College, in the US, played a group of volunteers a series of keys and watched the way the brain responded.

He told the BBC: “One chunk of the brain was responding when the melody was in G major or E minor and another part of the circuit was responding when it was in E major for example.”

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Get Smart! – Making music makes you smarter

Music can play an important role in the development of children – from pre birth to the end of their education. Quality music education can open the door to many important benefits:

Stanford University research has found  that musical training improves how the brain processes the spoken word, a finding that researchers say could lead to improving the reading ability of children who have dyslexia and other reading problems.

The study, was the first to show that musical experience can help the brain improve its ability to distinguish between rapidly changing sounds that are key to understanding and using language.

The research also eventually could provide the “why” behind other studies that have found that playing a musical instrument has cognitive benefits.
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“What this study shows, that’s novel, is that there’s a specific aspect of language … that’s changed in the minds and brains of people with musical training,” said researcher John Gabrieli, a former Stanford psychology professor now at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

“Especially for children … who aren’t good at rapid auditory processing and are high-risk for becoming poor readers, they may especially benefit from musical training.”

The researchers then examined how musicians and non-musicians processed similar word syllables, like “da” and “ba.” A person has only a 40,000th of a second to differentiate between the two sounds when the physical signal hits the ear, and the musicians made those rapid auditory distinctions more accurately and quickly than non-musicians did.

When the two sounds were clearly different, like “da” and “wa,” the two groups performed similarly, the differences emerging only in the finer distinctions.

“The musicians are better able to detect small differences than the non-musicians, which is surprising,” said Nadine Gaab, a postdoctoral associate.

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# It can help children manage information, think about and solve problems, be adaptive, learn continuously and work well with others.

# Students who play music tend to achieve higher test scores.

# Playing music enhances creativity and self-expression

# Playing in a group can reinforce self-discipline and teamwork.

A groundbreaking study published in the February 2005 issue of the international research journal Medical Science Monitor shows for the first time that playing a musical instrument can reverse multiple components of the human stress response on the genomic level. The study’s principal investigator, Barry Bittman, M.D. of the Mind-Body Wellness Center in Meadville, PA, says these unique findings not only shed new light on the value of active music participation, but also extend our understanding of individualized human biological stress responses on an unprecedented level.

The research team led by Bittman included researchers from Loma Linda University School of Medicine and Applied Biosystems, the developer of the original technology that led to the successful mapping of the human genome announced in June, 2000.

During the first hour of the novel two-phase study, researchers employed a frustrating puzzle assembly exercise to induce stress in 32 adult volunteers who did not consider themselves “musical.” In the second hour, subjects were randomly divided into three groups. One subset of individuals continued the stressful activity, while another was allowed to de-stress, relax and read newspapers or magazines of their choice. The third group participated in their first group-based recreational music making keyboard program called the Clavinova Connection which focuses on nurturing, support and non-verbal creative expression, as opposed to mastery and performance.

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Yet beyond stress-induction, the research shows that the stress-reduction impact was far greater for individuals participating in their first group keyboard lesson than for subjects who simply relaxed and read newspapers and magazines. No statistically significant reversals of initial stress-induced gene expression were noted in individuals who continued the puzzle exercise during the second hour. In contrast, six genes in the relaxation group reversed during phase two of the study, compared with 19 genes in the music group.

“In simple terms, using a unique combination of the latest genomic technologies, we showed for the very first time that we could turn off the DNA-based switches that literally turn on components of human stress response,” said Muhammad A. Sharaf, Ph.D., Senior Staff Scientist at Applied Biosystems. “The far-reaching potential of inducing and subsequently reversing gene expression in this manner introduces new and exciting possibilities for testing and tailoring specific treatments to an individual, rather than a group.”

The following extract is from a Music Industries Association newsletter:

“Asthma is serious; 5.1 million people in the UK have asthma, every 7 hours someone in the UK dies from asthma. 75% of hospital admissions due to asthma are avoidable (source – Asthma UK). Learning to play a wind instrument teaches the sufferer to breathe properly and can also improve lung function. Therefore, when asthmatics get an attack they are less likely to panic. People who rely on inhalers or even steroid treatment to stave off their breathlessness and panic attacks can minimise the impact asthma has on their lives – naturally. Recent research found significant improvement in the condition of children with asthma who learned to play wind instruments.”

So clearly music making  has a lifelong ability to enhance and better your health and well being. If you dont already play an instument there has never been a better time to start!

For more information on any the above please contact the MIA Head Office on office@mia.org.uk

Source

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/11/17/MNGQ9FPODP1.DTL

http://www.mia.org.uk/getalive_findoutmore/

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/19535.php

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2 comments

  1. I have taught music for over forty years and I understand how important music is. Whether you play music, walk, dance and study to music. It is very important. I teach piano,keyboard,vocal music and woodwind instruments. I teach classes in music history, music theory, ear training and music comprehension. I have studied all over the world in such places as London, Paris, Moscow, Vienna, Innbruck and Graz Austria. I know how important music is to good health however, I am still unable to get this point across to most parents. When I speak to my former students who quit to soon I always
    hear regret. For those students who stayed the course they have only praise for the time spent learning their music whether or not they have become
    musicians. Music has remained in the for front of their lives. WHY won’t the masses understand how important MUSIC is.


  2. Thank for your post.



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