Enhancing Your Grey Matter With Music

As soon as you hear that first note, your brain instantly recalls the time and place of when you first heard that song. If you had to give the ballad a place marker, it would sit somewhere in the top five. Significant music will always transcend our emotions. These feelings run so high that we often share them with our friends and family. But does the song ever stop, or does it stay with you for the duration?  Is the song just a compilation of pitches and harmonized vocals, or is it something remarkably different like a memory adviser, when the majority of your brain has seized to operate?

My mother passed away a couple of years ago. Before she left us, her brain was jumbled and mixed up like a puzzle without a layout. Imagine taking two or three different puzzles and placing all the pieces into a zip-lock bag, then trying to create a picture with those pieces. That’s how scattered her grey matter was. 

Fast forward to November of 2016. It’s late at night and I sat down to watch a Netflix movie. I am exhausted so I am not really too concerned on what gets played. The movie will serve as white noise as I hope to fall fast asleep. The movie is called “Alive Inside A Story of Music & Memory.” Five minutes into the movie my life has forever been altered. My sleepiness has disappeared and my soul has found a new meaning. Somehow the stressfulness of the music business I own has soon faded away. Had I known about music and memory during the last three years of my mother’s life, I may have been able to help her recall some good times. To bring back that feeling that makes everyone forget life for three to four minutes and enjoy nothing but the sound of a song, the warmth of it’s cords, the way the rhythm energizes your pulse, and the ability of meaningful lyrics that’s only purpose is to inspire and encourage. 

“Alive Inside” is the story of how one man brought the iPod into an assistant living facility and forever changed the landscape of the once forgotten. His name was Dan, and his mission was to be able to hear his 60’s music when he was older and not capable of taking care of himself. He realized that out of the 16,000 care facilities across the country none of them was utilizing music to enhance the daily lives of Alzheimer’s patients, elderly who suffered from dementia along with a wide variety of cognitive and physical disabilities. In the movie, Dan speaks with a care professional, asking questions about a couple of residents. The nurse describes one patient as secluded and not really involved in anything,. For those of you who have visited a care facility, you have witnessed this same situation just by walking down the hall. Dan does a little research in the movie, finds out that the patient loved gospel music, pulls up music from his era and places the headphones on the patient. Within seconds the subject has reawakened and has felt the joy of life.To live again! 

 Music is located in the prefrontal cortex, and this area of the brain is among the last region to decline. Music won’t reverse the disease, but it will make the quality of life better! This is what music can and will do for our brain. 

“Music is so naturally united with us that we cannot be free from it, even if we so desired.” That quote was derived from a 6th century philosopher named Boethius  

Even back in the day we knew that music was forever instilled in us. Almost all cultures on Earth have music. The Ancient Greeks harmonized their dramas so they could memorize the content better. Classical music from the baroque period enabled the heart beat and pulse rate to relax to the tone of the music, which in return let the mind recline.  

Lets take a look at the benefits of music

  • Music affects the amplitude and frequency of brain waves, which can be measured by an electro-encephalogram.
  • Music also affects breathing rate and electrical resistance of the skin. It has been observed to cause the pupils to dilate, increase blood pressure and increase the heart rate. 
  • Mozart’s music and baroque music with 60 beats per minute beat pattern activate the left and right brain.
  • The simultaneous left and right brain action maximizes learning and retention of information.
  • Activities which engage both sides of the brain at the same time, such as playing an instrument or signing, causes the brain to be more capable of processing information. 
  • The order of the music from barque and classical periods causes the brain to respond in special ways.
  • King George of England had problems with memory loss and stress management. He read from the bible the story of King Saul and recognized that Saul had experienced the same type of problems. George recognized that Saul overcame his problems with special music 

Music leaves a lasting impression on our memory. Can you ever recall your parents or grandparents talking about the new music you are listening too? If you can, they did it for a good reason. Rhythmic repetition is used by people who are trying to push certain ethics in their music. The human mind shuts down after three or four repetitions of a rhythm, a melody, or a harmonic progression. Furthermore, excessive repetition causes people to release control of their thoughts. This is the main reason we can recall a catchy tune easier than we can recall Mozart’s Piano Sonata No.1. The reason we study and read with classical music is because the songs are able to enhance our grey matter and propel us forward. Where a rock ballad may sound better and be a lot more fun to jam out too, it will not help us memorize our homework.

I want to accomplish a couple of things with this research project. Mainly, to help you realize that even the loss of memory can be brought back to life through music. So your mission is to pay attention the next time a good friend or family member tells you about their favorite song. You may need that information in forty years. Secondly,  to start accelerating your brain by listening to classical music with 60 beats per minute beat pattern. 

Feel free to drop us a comment so we can learn and grow.

Resources :

Music & Memory 



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