Why Our Brains Need Music

Dr. Larry Sherman, Ph. D., a neuroscientist and musician, joined us today to talk about why our brains need music.

Here are a few highlights from the discussion:

Can listening to music benefit brain development?  And does it matter what kind of music we listen to?

  • Listening to music doesn't really benefit brain development, but it can enhance attention depending on the type of music.  Loud music and music with lyrics can be distracting but most forms of music can wake the brain up prior to performing some task

 Is there something going on in the teen brain that makes them become obsessed with music?  

  • Areas of judgment and reasoning and preferences for external stimuli are forming very actively in the teenage brain. So are areas involved in music processing.  That is why many teenagers are so attracted to music.  But not everyone is the same....

Will listening to music while doing homework -- or other tasks requiring concentration and reading or writing -- distract from the task at hand?

  • Listening to music with lyrics while doing homework - anything that you can sing along with - or with loud beats will be distracting; listening to quiet instrumental music may actually help.

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