The Beneficial Effects that Music has on the Brain


       Music has been proven to activates many regions of the brain, including the auditory, motor, and limbic parts. Music also enhances intelligence, increases productivity, and boosts mood. Playing an instrument or simply listening to music can make learning easier for the brain. In 1995, scientists at the University of California at Irvine did a study and found that college students who listened to a Mozart sonata for a few minutes before taking a test that measured spatial relationship skills did better than students who took the test after listening to another musician or no music at all.

       I believe music is an art that is essentially a medicine for the soul and body. Over the course of human history, it has been important to all cultures throughout the world. There are historical records of Chinese music history that date back to the Shang dynasty from 1600-1000 B.C. Chinese philosophers like Confucius (551-479 B.C.) thought of music as an essential part of maintaining order in human society. Evolutionary scientists believe that a musical culture would have aided prehistoric human species to survive because the music coordinates emotions, helps important messages to be communicated, and motivates people to identify with a group.

          The reason I chose this topic is because I have a strong interest and love for music, and I wanted to learn some of the benefits that it can have. Also, music is everywhere, and is a part of our lives everyday. No matter where you go in public, there will most likely be music playing. If you go to the gym, a restaurant, a bar, a store, or the mall, music will be playing. Almost everyone can recall a moment when a song has made them feel a certain type of way or remind them of a particular time in their life. I believe that music is more than just something to listen to or play; it’s something deeper than that. I can definitely say that music plays an extremely important role in my life.

         Ever since I was born, I have been around music in different ways. Being raised in a family that highly appreciates has allowed me to do the same. I have always had a connection with music, whether it was in church on Sundays or dancing at family reunions that happened once a year. The first time I recorded and wrote my own music was in the fourth grade. My cousin, who was in high school at the time, had a studio in his house where we would create music. During my high school years, I continued to record music occasionally. Being a part of a choir all four years in high school was vital in my experience with music. During this course, we learned how to read music,which I did not know how to do before. On top of this, we sang pieces from all types of genres, and just built our musical knowledge in general. Music is an incredibly powerful thing and I can attribute it to helping me get through things that have occurred in my life. Being a college student, there is many times where your schedule can get hectic and minor stress can be built up. Whenever I have time, I listen to music which is a relaxation technique I use. The beauty of music allows for me to clear my mind and think clearly about situations that arise in my life.

           I believe that it helps spark creativity in the mind. When many people listen to music, they are able to visualize images. Sometimes they might visualize what the lyrics are explaining, or something that the song reminds them of. When I listen to music, I am able to paint a picture. Listening to different kinds of music allows me to think of new creative ideas. Music can influence how you feel change your mood. Dopamine and serotonin are released in the brain when you hear a song that you like which makes you “feel-good” and brings out positive emotions.

          The bibliography that follows looks at how music can be used as a tool to increase brain function. Research and studies have been performed by Anita Collins, Lauren Istvandity, and Sarah Sparks that show the beneficial effects of music on individuals. All of the sources provide useful information that could be used for an upper-level psychology or education course. Anita Collins and Sarah Sparks explain studies that show the effect of music on the brain. Lauren Istvandity goes on to talk about the ability of music to trigger memories of one’s own life experience. The majority of my research conducted has not been very difficult because the sources have specific information that help strengthen my paper.

Annotated Bibliography

Collins, Anita. “Music Education and the Brain: What Does It Take To Make A Change?” UPDATE: Applications of Research in Music Education 32.2 (2014): 4-10. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.

        In this article, Anita Collins talks about how neuroscientists have worked for over two decades to comprehend how the brain processes music, affects emotions, and alters brain development. The research was performed by comparing the brain function of participants grouped as musicians and non-musicians. The research shows a great amount of benefits that come from music education. Improvements in memory, language acquisition, executive function, and brain plasticity are some of the benefits that Collins writes about. Music education has been known to encourage high levels of plasticity in the auditory cortex and frontal cortex. This helps predict consequences, moderate emotional reactions, and determine similarities and differences. This plasticity allows for creativity to increase. Some people believe that every child should receive music education. Music educators should know the correct and proper way to teach music education, so that the brain can be affected in a positive way. Also, most of these educators are aware that different students learn better in different musical environments. The way that educators teach is based upon performance goals, resourcing, rehearsal space and frequency, student personalities, and teaching style. Performance of music synthesizes knowledge and skills. You can learn how to work effectively within an ensemble in both a leading and responding role. Collins also talks about how Music programs can be organized in many different ways, but the most common learning period is for one semester or one year. Musical development over a span of two years is not as common.

Istvandity, Lauren. “The Lifetime Soundtrack: Music as an Archive for autobiographical Memory.” Popular Music History 9.2 (2014): 136-154. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.

       In this article, Lauren Istvandity talks about music’s ability to trigger memories of one’s own life experiences. This article uses information from a detailed study of adults’ memory narratives. This study helps show the potential for music to bring out memories. Music helps evoke memories because it provides a rhythm and sometimes alliteration, which helps to unlock that information with signals. It is the structure of the song that helps people remember a particular moment, and also the melody and the images that the words produce. Memories that are stimulated by music often come from specific times in your life. Also, music evokes emotion that can be related to certain events in your life. Istvandity talks about how music becomes an effective portrayal of experience because music creates the development of a personal memory catalog. This article uses excerpts from research interviews to demonstrate how lyrics and sounds help music act as a memory holder for people.

Sparks, Sarah D. “Studies Highlight Brain Benefits from Music Training.” Education Week 33.13 (2013): 6. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.

       In this article, Sarah Sparks discusses studies presented at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in November of 2013. The studies discovered that music training can increase creativity, decision making, and complex memory skills. The author also discusses sensory-processing tests held at the University of Montreal in Canada, the effect of early music education on brain development, and the benefits of music education to children with behavioral problems. The difficulty involved in practicing and performing music helps students’ cognitive development. She also talks about how musicians have to learn how to multitask, which is beneficial to the brain. Some students participated in intense, group-based musical training over a couple of years.The training took place two hours a day, for five days a week. Researchers tracked their cognitive, social-emotional, and physiological brain development, and compared it to students who did not participate in musical training but participated in sports activities at the same intensity. Basically, this research displays the development of the students’ creativity over a period of time, due to the music.

The Beneficial Effects that Music has on the Brain

Paul Muldoon’s poem “Hedgehog”  is a text that portrays the similarity between two animals and compares each of them to something else. A hedgehog and a snail are the two animals talked about in the poem. Paul Muldoon elaborates on the fear of a young hedgehog to the world. The hedgehog will never come out to speak or play. The snail moves very slow but it is aware of it’s surroundings. The snail has no fear of anything on the earth which is very different from the hedgehog. . It is evident that the hedgehog wants to be hidden away from the world and not be bothered.  Essentially, the hedgehog lives in it’s own world that is distant from others. The Hedgehog did not want to touched, bothered, or even seen.  This is the reason for his spikes always being out.

Paul Muldoon was born in  Northern Ireland so he was probably used to being around hedgehogs.   Muldoon has a different style of writing but he is a very successful poet.  At first, it was a little difficult to interpret this poem but I eventually was able to. I like how he compares the two animals and also shows their differences in behavior.


Work Cited

Muldoon, Paul. “Hedgehog.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

Response to “Shitty First Drafts”

In Anne Lamott’s article,  she speaks about how it is okay for writers to start with terrible first drafts because it helps with building a strong final product. Lamott states “very few writers really know what they are doing until they’ve done it.” She is basically saying, until you start writing something, you will not know where to start or what to write about.  After you start somewhere, you can then edit and make corrections to the rough draft so that the paper will improve.  She expresses her opinion strongly on the fact that almost all great writing begins with horrible first efforts.

I also agree with Anne Lamott because I feel that my writing is best when I create a bad rough draft and make changes along the way. In my opinion, the hardest part of writing a paper can be finding where to start. With this being said, a “shitty” first draft gives you a place to start from. Also, in class, we engage in free writing activities very often.  The free writing technique is performed by writing quickly and continually without worrying about the correct punctuation, spelling, structure, or form.  It’s a technique of writing every single thing that comes to mind without hesitation. Free writing is an excellent way to get ideas onto paper without overthinking your ideas. Lastly, it allows people to expand their thinking effectively because ideas just keep building on top of each other.

Works Cited

—. “Shitty First Drafts.” College of Arts & Sciences Writing, Rhetoric & Digital Studies. U of Kentucky, n.d. PDF. 6 Apr. 2016.


Response to “Shitty First Drafts”

Response to Garrison Keillor in The Washington Post

After reading Garrison Keillor’s article in The Washington Post, I was able to realize what he was trying to express.  Throughout the whole text, his argument is directed towards U.S. citizens who plan on fleeing the country if Donald Trump wins the election as President of the United States.  In Keillor’s opinion, he believes that you should not move to another country if you are trying to escape Trump.  Keillor uses the quote “Exile is no bed of roses.” With this being said, he says that in foreign countries, people will know you are an American and they will ask you why someone like Trump was chosen to be President.  In America, you are not different so you don’t have to speak out for America to others.  The best way to escape Trump in Keillor’s opinion is to move to New York.

Throughout the passage, Keillor refers to Trump as the Great White Snapping Turtle which I believe represents his aggressive combat style approach to campaigning. Trump currently leads the Republican party in nominations and he has built his campaign on harsh insults that grab attention.  He also portrays a very high level of self-adulation.  In my opinion, I feel that there will still be a lot of citizens fleeing the US if he is elected because they fear what is in store for our country if he becomes the leader.

Work Cited

Keillor, Garrison. “Think Moving Abroad will Save You from Trump? Think Again.” The Washington Post. The Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2016. Web. 30 March 2016.

Response to Garrison Keillor in The Washington Post

Unit 1 Paper

Seth Davis

Jane Lucas

ENG 131

22 February 2016

Response to “College Education Should Include Rooming With a Stranger”

After reading “College Education Should Include Rooming with a Stranger,” I gained a lot of interest on the topic.  This issue is a hugely debated topic and it is extremely relevant to my life because I am a freshman in college right now.  The author, Anna Altman, talks about how it has been known that freshman-year roommates have been randomly assigned by their institutions. Some of the colleges offer incoming students the opportunity to match alike students with preferences. There are  two major disadvantages with random roommates in the eyes of the schools.  First, it is very expensive to move students to other residences if they are not happy with their roommate.  Also, the school can lose money if a student decides to transfer out of the school because of a bad living experience.  With this being said, colleges have implemented the student preference matching apps like RoomSync which is the Facebook app to help find alike roommates , and have also spent money on more appealing residences for the students.  The major advantage of the random roommates is that it helps students with people skills in the real world and helps students learn how to deal with people from different backgrounds.

Like I stated earlier, I am a freshman in college so this article is relevant to my life right now.  I’ve had the experience of rooming with a basketball teammate here at Lenoir-Rhyne University.  This allows for both of us to have very similar daily schedules.  Also, we get to know each other better, the more we interact with our team everyday.  I have not had any problems with my roommate even though we do have some different interests.  Also, my roommate is from Slovenia, which has allowed him to teach me things about his culture.  One of the first things he informed me on was how their school system required much more critical thinking assignments than America.  On the other hand, I have been able to teach him things about the American culture, especially the types of food.

For non-athletes in college, I feel that they should not be forced to room with random roommates.  Throughout college, you’re going to learn social skills regardless if you are rooming with a stranger or not.  There are many extracurricular activities and clubs that require students to meet and interact with people with different backgrounds.  If the student wants to room with a stranger, I feel this should be their choice because this does open up a lot of doors for young adults.  Rooming with a best friend can make a student not want to open up to meeting people.

It is vital to have social skills in order to be successful in most avenues of professions.   It is important for young adults to conduct themselves in ways that allow them to develop relationships with other people, especially that come from different backgrounds.  Some people have more difficulty with this than others but I feel that you should always challenge yourself to be uncomfortable which will make you comfortable in the long run. Harry Frankenfeld, a graduate of Belmont University in Nashville, stated, “Basically, I had to learn to be less self-centered and selfish. It’s helped in my marriage, in my work relationships, and in my relationships in general. Roommates are good for us.”  It is a process to acquire social skills and it will not happen overnight. These skills are developed through practice and experience.   There are many different aspects that go into making someone a great social person like understanding and communication.  One thing is for sure; anyone can learn how to.  The gaining of these skills does not only have to happen from rooming with a stranger because it happens all throughout college.  College students are required to speak in front of other students that they are not familiar with for presentations.

At the end of the day, there are many advantages and disadvantages that come from rooming with strangers or with someone that you know.  In my opinion, students should be able to live comfortably away from home while still obtaining all the skills they need to be successful in the real world.  The matching apps that institutions are implementing allow for students to live more comfortably.  Even if students use the matching apps to find common interests,  they still have to go through the process of meeting and living with a person that they never have before.

Works Cited

“A College Education Should Include Rooming With a Stranger.” OpTalk A College Education Should Include Rooming With a Stranger Comments. Web. 10 Feb. 201

Unit 1 Paper

Billy Collins’ Snow Day

        In Billy Collins’ poem “Snow Day”, he talks about snow that takes over a town.  The government buildings, libraries, and schools were all closed down due to the snow. The author jokes about the names of the schools by calling them names such as “the Kiddie Corner School”.  At first, the speaker was excited about the snow and wants to take a step outside but he decides to stay in the house to make tea, listen to the radio, and watch the news rather than partaking in outdoor activities. The schools that get closed around the town is where the children spend their day and they are not able to anymore because of the snow.  The snow covers every part of the surface and puts silence around the town because it is not what it seems at first.  This allows the speaker to hear things getting plotted.

Billy Collins’ Snow Day