Turn on the tunes: Music is good for your brain

Scientists are starting to believe that music’s impact might be much greater than first thought.

We all know music has the power to make us feel great – whether it’s listening to it, singing along with it or playing an instrument.

For thousands of centuries, it’s been used to entertain us. It triggers certain sensory emotions and we enjoy the feelings it provokes.

But as Jo Stanley discovers on The House of Wellness TV show, there’s a growing body of scientific evidence to suggest music and rhythm can connect with the brain and actually improve it.

“It wasn’t until the 1990s when advances in brain imaging revealed music’s true impact on our grey matter,” Jo says.

“We now know it activates every known part of the brain, especially the regions controlling our memory and our emotions.

“Listening to it or playing it has the power to make us smarter, happier and healthier at all stages of life and is proven through research to help manage anxiety, aggression and also improve the quality of life of age-related brain disorders.”

Jo finds that researchers, therapists and neurologists are now using music to try and treat people with conditions such as Alzheimer’s, depression and dementia.

Moving to the groove

Ray McDermott is one such person. Together with wife Kay, he’s trying to maintain his quality of life in the face of dementia through specialist music program Move and Groove.

Developed by music therapists and dementia specialists, this “silent disco for seniors” uses music to reconnect sufferers with both their memories and their surroundings.

And according to program director Sally Fuller, it’s having amazing results.

“It’s very immersive for them; they hear the music from the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s and also audio of us speaking,” Sally explains.

“There’s a good beat, lovely songs from when they may have gone to dances during war time, that just bring an amazing experience back to life for them.”

Ray says it helps him relax, and brings back great memories. “I like music. I can remember when we met, dancing and fell in love,” he says.

For Jo, music’s power is undisputed.

“It’s the first thing I hear when my alarm goes off in the morning and gets me through my exercise, peak-hour traffic and housework,” she says.

“It connects me to my daughter, my husband and all the greatest moments in my life!”

Learn more:

Catch up on the full episode of The House of Wellness TV show to see more from Zoe, Ed, and the team.