top of page
  • Amy Ward-Wurst

Your Brain on Music

Coming from a musical family, I've been listening to music since I was in the womb. It's an involuntarily action to have music on in our house. We have various Spotify accounts and speakers in every room. According to , music is an art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color.

So, what happens to your brain when you listen to music?

Plain and simple: it stimulates your brain! Music activates just about all of the brain. The parts of the brain involved in emotion are not only activated during emotional music, they are also synchronized. Music also activates a variety of memory regions. And, interestingly, music activates the motor system. According to John Hopkins Medicine: If you want to firm up your body, head to the gym. If you want to exercise your brain, listen to music. There are few things that stimulate the brain the way music does. If you want to keep your brain engaged throughout the aging process, listening to or playing music is a great tool. It provides a total brain workout. Music is structural, mathematical and architectural. It’s based on relationships between one note and the next. You may not be aware of it, but your brain has to do a lot of computing to make sense of it.

Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, pain, as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory. This leads me to Music Therapy. According to,, Music therapists use music-based experiences to address client needs in one or more domains of human functioning: cognitive, academic, emotional/psychological; behavioral; communication; social; physiological (sensory, motor, pain, neurological and other physical systems), spiritual, aesthetics.

Even animals need music. Music therapy in pets allows for a noninvasive, safe and effective approach to treat various anxieties or phobias. Proven to fight anxiety, music therapy for pets can also benefit animals with chronic pain, or recovering from surgery. It can help pets sleep better, and can reduce the need for certain medications.

Why is music so important?

At the core of our everyday experience with music, we use it to relax, express ourselves, come to terms with our emotions, and generally improve our well-being. It has evolved into a tool for healing and self-expression, often dictating how we, as individuals, take steps to impact society.

Mental health is such an important topic these days, especially since Covid affected everyone so differently. According to BC Mental Health, 10 tips to boost your mental health are pretty spot on and #4 Music -Appeal to your senses- really shows how important it is in our daily lives.

Listen to NEW music

New music challenges the brain in a way that old music doesn’t. It might not feel pleasurable at first, but that unfamiliarity forces the brain to struggle to understand the new sound. We are all guilty of listening to our favorite songs time and time again, but now we have a reason to listen the New Music Friday on Spotify. (even if you skip after 30 seconds:) Speaking of Spotify, have you tried Heardle?

Learn an Instrument

When 13 older adults took piano lessons, their attention, memory and problem-solving abilities improved, along with their moods and quality of life. You don’t have to become a pro, just take a few lessons. I was a music teacher for many years and continue to teach my kids piano and voice lessons. It's a win win. We all learn together. New songs, new techniques, build confidence, and our brains stay strong and young.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page