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How Music Can Improve Your Health and Happiness
Insights from Author of "Wired For Music" Adriana Barton
This week, I am excited to have Adriana Barton as my guest. Adriana is a highly experienced individual in the field of music and the author of "Wired for Music: A Search for Health and Joy Through the Science of Sound". During our discussion, Adriana shares how her years of intensive training in music shaped her perspective on the art form and the injuries she sustained while playing the cello. We also delve into the remarkable benefits of music, ranging from improving mental health to enhancing athletic performance and even combatting dementia.
Adriana is a renowned journalist and author, having written for various publications such as The Globe and Mail, Boston Globe, Reader's Digest, and San Francisco Bay Guardian. She studied the cello for 17 years with notable teachers, including international solo artist Antonio Lysy and former Cleveland Orchestra principal cellist Stephen Geber. Adriana's research projects have taken her to countries such as Syria, Jordan, India, Cuba, Zimbabwe, and Brazil.
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Adriana offers valuable insights into the impact of music on our well-being. She explains how music is a potent tool that can stimulate over 100 neurochemicals in the brain, thereby enhancing mood, pleasure, and social connections. According to Adriana, there are three main domains of music: pleasure, tempo, and social.
The pleasure domain relates to how music affects our dopamine pathways, which regulate mood, motivation, and pleasure. Listening to music can boost dopamine levels, making it a useful experimental treatment for those with Parkinson's disease. The pleasure aspect of music is heavily influenced by personal preference, cultural background, and early exposure to music.
The second domain is tempo, which refers to the speed of the beat. The brainwaves and neurons in the brain stem tend to synchronize with the beat, affecting heart rate, breathing, and cortisol levels. The most common tempo is 120 beats per minute, which initiates the desire to move and gets people on the dance floor. In sports and exercise, higher beats per minute can help increase energy levels and make the exercise feel less strenuous.
The third domain is social. Music has been shown to create social connections between people, as demonstrated by a study conducted at McMaster University. Audience members wore hats full of electrodes, and the brainwaves of the audience members started to synchronize with each other and with the musicians on stage, leading to a sense of social connection. Music is an efficient way of making people feel part of something without using words, transcending the minefield of verbal communication.
Adriana and I cover a wide range of topics related to music, and it was a pleasure to gain a deeper understanding of the impacts of music on us. You can listen to the full interview on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and watch the interview on YouTube!