“How Does Music Engage The Brain And Evoke Feeling s Of Nostalgia Amongst Listeners?” plus 1 more

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“How Does Music Engage The Brain And Evoke Feelings Of Nostalgia Amongst Listeners?” plus 1 more

How Does Music Engage The Brain And Evoke Feelings Of Nostalgia Amongst Listeners?

Posted: 12 Jul 2019 01:00 AM PDT

Humans are surrounded by music. It is undeniable that it affects people’s moods and emotions. But even more than that, it has the power to transport listeners to a very particular date, time or event. The songs we listen to and love become woven into a neural tapestry reminiscing seasons, people and locations. I will attempt to discover exactly how music engages broad neural networks in the brain and how it can be used in neuro-therapy to help brain injured patients recall personal memories. 

Music is a powerful cue in bringing emotional experiences from memory back into awareness. It is a pervasive element of social life and accompanies many significant events throughout one’s whole life. There are many associations between musical elements and emotionally charged memories.

Music plays a prominent role in everyday life for most people. It is a universal phenomenon for a song to trigger a tidal wave of memories and emotions- bringing back nostalgia and a wide range of joyful memories to listeners.

The term nostalgia describes a wistful longing for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. The word is a learned formation of a Greek compound consisting of two words: ‘nóstos’- a Homeric word meaning “Homecoming”, and ‘álgos’- which meaning “pain”.

Nostalgia’s definition has changed greatly over time, as it was once considered a medical condition similar to homesickness. Nostalgia now, however, is considered to be an independent, and often positive emotion that many people experience often. 

Although nostalgia is often triggered by negative feelings, it results in increasing one’s mood and heightening positive emotions, which can stem from feelings of warmth or coping resulting from nostalgic reflections. Music is undeniably a strong trigger of nostalgia, and reliving enjoyable past memories has the ability to provide comfort to listeners.

Scientific studies have found that listening to music engages different neural networks in the brain, including brain regions responsible for motor actions, emotions and creativity. 

Finnish researchers made an astounding discovery in 2011 with their scientific study entitled ‘Neurolmage’. The researchers discovered that different aspects within music such as rhythm, timbre and tonality all activate different areas of the brain responsible for motor actions, emotions, and creativity. For this study participants were scanned with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) while listening to an Argentinian tango. 

The researchers correlated temporal evolutions of timbral, tonal, and rhythmic features of the music. While timbral feature processing was associated with activations in cognitive areas of the cerebellum, musical pulse and tonality processing recruited cortical and subcortical cognitive, motor and emotion-related circuits within the brain.

It was also discovered that the processing of musical pulse recruits motor areas in the cerebellum and cerebrum parts of the brain, supporting the idea that music and movement are closely intertwined.

Dr Petr Janata from the University of California published a scientific Journal in 2009 titled ‘The Neural Architecture of Music-Evoked Autobiographical Memories’. The study involved mapping significant areas of the brain while subjects listened to various pieces of music, concluding that specific brain regions linked to autobiographical memories are activated by familiar music. “The discovery helps to explain why music can elicit strong responses from people with Alzheimer’s disease,” explained Janata. The hub that music activated is located in the medial prefrontal cortex region of the brain- and one of the last areas of the brain to atrophy over time due to Alzheimer’s disease.

Janata also made the discovery that the brain tracks tonal progressions within music in the same part of the brain that experiences memories: the dorsal part of the medial prefrontal cortex, as well as the regions immediately adjacent to it. He was able to discover this by creating tonal maps of the chords within musical excerpts and comparing them to their corresponding brain scans.

With this information we can understand exactly how music has a great therapeutic potential for brain-injured patients to elicit autobiographical memories. The fact that the part of the brain which triggers autobiographical memories through music, the medial prefrontal cortex, is one of the last to expire means that lots of Alzheimer’s patients will certainly benefit from listening to music as part of their therapy to relive past memories. 

It becomes clear as to why there are various charitable organisations advocating the use of music as a therapy. Music & Memory is a non-profit charitable organisation based in the U.S, which aims to bring personalised music to those struggling with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive and physical challenges, allowing them to reconnect with the world through music-triggered memories. The company trains elder care professionals to set up personalized music playlists, which are delivered on digital devices for those in care. These musical favourites tap deep memories not lost to dementia and can bring residents and clients back to life, enabling them to feel like themselves again, to converse, socialize and stay present.

The music that patients listen to does not merely provide a short-term amusement. It is scientifically proven to improve quality of life and notably responsible for the reduction of the use of antipsychotic medication in nursing homes in the U.S.A and Canada.

Music has a wholly independent and unique effect upon the minds of listeners, and recalling personal memories is important for the well-beings of patients. Nostalgia triggered from familiar music serves as a coping mechanism and can certainly increase positive self-regard as well as increase social connectedness. Nostalgia typically revolves around memories with beloved and close others, and thus increases one’s sense of social support and provides existential meaning when it is needed. 

Music engages the brain in numerous ways, and within various different parts of the brain, and in turn the music helps facilitate cognitive function, and coordinate motor movements. This happens because rhythmic responses require little to no cognitive or mental processing. A person’s ability to engage in music, particularly rhythm playing and singing, remains intact late into the Alzheimer’s disease process because these activities do not require cognitive or mental functioning for success.

About The Author:
Gideon Waxman is a London based drummer with over 13 years experience, and is the drummer of metal act Familiar Spirit. You can find more of his tips at Drum Helper – a free online resource packed with drumming guidesdrumming reviews, news and more.

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4 Ways To Create Atmospheric Lighting For Your Live Shows

Posted: 11 Jul 2019 07:27 PM PDT

When it comes to live shows, the lighting is big part of the crowd’s enjoyment. It can really make a difference in how they are able to get the full experience of your show. So don’t make the mistake of having sub-par lighting that doesn’t represent your performance in the best way. Use these four tips to create the best atmospheric lighting possible:


Surround the Arena


You don’t want to have just one area where lights are coming from. They should be displayed all around the area. This way, you can light the stage from different angles. The end result is a live show that seems to have more life and energy. When there is only one angle, entire portions of the audience do not have a great view of what is happening on stage, and that’s not something you want.


Use High Power Lighting


If you try to go with lights that are not meant for shows, you could end up with a weak source. You won’t have your lighting reaching the stage and lighting it up. Instead, it will be barely enough to make the performers visible. This is true whether you have a musical performance or speaker.


Adhere to Safety Precautions


There are over 71 electrocution deaths each year by accident. Hiring a commercial electrician is a smart way to avoid this kind of risk. After all, it’s simply not worth putting your or anyone on your team in harm’s way. Furthermore, an expert will be able to save you time. They can wire complex systems in a fraction of the time that it would take you to do it yourself. That way, you can focus on the other aspects of your event.


Use Colors Wisely


Avoid the temptation to use only white lighting. You want to add excitement and energy to the live show. Mix it up with various colors. Also, consider varying the colors with switches and multiple light sources. But be sure the colors go with the theme of your event. It’s even better if goes with your band’s logo colors.


When it comes to creating a better lighting effect for your live shows, you don’t want to get overwhelmed with all the options. Instead, you should embrace the key tips above. They will help you create a better atmosphere, save time, and stay safe. At the end of the day, all those things will help your show be a winning success like never before.

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