What This Understanding Means for Music in Neuroscience

Music activates the circuits controlling a variety of human functions and this activation, in turn, may have desirable effects on early brain development and may enhance brain plasticity later in life. We can use our knowledge of how music changes the brain to promote strategic brain changes through music therapy. Retraining occurs through altering the neuronal connections of the injured brain. While the myth that listening to classical music or learning to play an instrument causes improvement in logical or mathematical abilities is probably untrue, it has certainly been shown through clinical and scientific studies that music can be utilized to improve certain aspects of the brain. Neurological Music Therapy is based on such models of music processing and how music perception and production changes nonmusical brain and behavior functions. Therapists can work with brain-damaged patients in music therapy to promote circuit-formation that heals damaged regions or compensates for functions that have been lost. Applications of music therapy range from reducing pain, to improving memory and cognition, to helping motor function. See the section titled “Music Therapy” to find out more!