How Music Affects the Brain

Music has a profound effect on the brain.  Indeed, music can increase brain function in individuals with various health problems, thereby contributing immensely to a person’s overall well-being.

In recent times many researchers and scientists have undertaken the task of discovering just how music affects the brain and their findings have been truly amazing.

The Research

One widely-referenced study was conducted by Dr. Fabien Maman, a French musician, acupuncturist and bio-energetician. Dr. Maman devoted one and a half years of his life to study the effects of sound on human cells.

His study included sounds made by the human voice, gongs, the acoustical guitar and the xylophone, and led him to the discovery that vibration actually transforms cell structure.

Here is a direct quote from that study:

The human voice produced the most dramatic results – exploding cancer cells and energizing healthy ones; however, the rich overtones of the gong being played for 21 minutes also caused the cancer cells to disintegrate and ultimately explode.

Yes, you read correctly, sounds made by a gong caused cancer cells to disintegrate and explode.This, I am sure, was an amazing discovery for science, and undoubtedly led to more questions and consequently, to more research.  As a result, Dr. Maman was not the only scientist to explore the question of how music affects brain development.

Another researcher, Dr. Hashim Ahmed, who led a study at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation, substantiated Dr. Maman’s findings.   Dr. Ahmed stated that scientists were “optimistic that men diagnosed with prostate cancer may soon be able to undergo a day case surgical procedure, which can be safely repeated once or twice, to treat their condition with very few side-effects.”

This, to my mind, is a giant leap forward in the fight against cancer, and seems to present a natural solution to combating the disease.  Let us dig a little deeper and see the inner workings of the brain as it responds to music.

An interesting article was written by JB Bardot in connection with our topic (you can read the full article by clicking on the link on my resource page).  From this article I have extracted the following statement: “exposing the internal organs and brain to different musical frequencies will encourage them to heal from within, and sound therapy helps to raise the frequency of the human body promoting health, vitality and spiritual wellbeing.

You may have heard the statement that the ‘body was designed to heal itself’.   I believe that given the right tools and sufficient amount of time, it will do just that.  Could it be that music is one of those tools?  What effects do you experience as you listen to music? music can calm your spirit

I recall the Biblical story of King Saul who became very troubled (or even mad) from time to time, and nothing could soothe him except the playing of the harp by David.

How Does All This Happen?

According to Dr. Mercola, New York Times Best Selling Author, when a person hears music, many areas of the brain “light up”.  That happens  because music triggers activity in the part of your brain that releases the feel-good chemical called dopamine.  Dopamine is a neurotransmitter – a chemical released by nerve cells to send signals to other nerve cells.  Doesn’t it lift your spirits when you hear a favorite piece of music?  Don’t you feel like dancing?

What Other Types of Illnesses Does Music Help?

It is no wonder then, that music has an effect on patients with alzheimers and dementia, helping them to recall memories. These types of patients recall incidences when they hear music associated with those incidences.  It also is being used to help people with Parkinson’s to move more freely.  These people suffer with uncontrollable movement of their arms, yet are able to keep the rhythm of a song when music is played.

You might be interested in a non-profit organization called Music and Memory.  This organization uses music to address other neurological events such as multiple sclerosis and stroke.

Music & Memory also accepts donations of gently used Apple music players, including iPods, iPhones or iPads. If you have one you’re no longer using, consider donating it to this worthwhile cause.

donate used Apple products

Types of Music and Their Effects

Classical Music.  Classical Music can change brain waves. The rhythm of classical music releases serotonin which is produced in the brain. Serotonin eases tension and therefore brings about a positive feeling.

Rock Music.  Just as classical music soothes and calms, rock music has the opposite effect on the brain.  Club music can encourage stress and anxiety.

Religious Music.  Did you know that “spiritual experiences cause changes in brain activity?”

There is an incredible connection between our body, soul and spirit; and when one part suffers, the whole body suffers.  If the spirit or soul is dejected, it brings about a negative physical manifestation.  Likewise, when the mind is at peace, the whole body stays healthy.  As I write this, I am reminded of the scripture which says, The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. (i Corinthians 12:12 NLT).  We were well put together by our Creator.

When music is coupled with the Word of God, it creates an irresistible force that both emotional and physical sickness cannot resist.

Before I close this blog, I’d like to introduce you to one of my favorite musical albums. I just enjoy listening to the combination of voice and music in this old album:

I hope you enjoyed listening. This album is no longer available, but there are several other music albums available on  Take a look at this one:   Music for HealingIf you have a favorite classical, gospel or other healing music, please spread the love by sharing the link. Comments and/or further questions are also welcome.

Peace and Love,



Comments 6

  • Hi Judy,
    I love music and over 6 years ago started to play the guitar in my late 40’s. It was a time when my wife was suffering badly from depression. Music did provide a soothing to the mood.

    I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and we have some wonderful music for worship. The songs have such amazing power to help us in our relationship with God. We recently received a new song book for worship and praise and it is being translated into hundreds of languages. Music has such power and what a loving gift from our creator.

    Thanks for the informative article. It will help many.

    • Hi Duncan,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      I am glad you were able to bring relief to your wife through music. It is truly a gift from our Creator. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. I believe we touch God through worship.

  • I wish more people knew how music affects the brain. I’ve known this for a long time. While music, real music constructed of harmonies is beneficial, there are also destructive sounds as well.

    Unfortunately, our culture is getting noisier and noisier and becoming more filled with destructive sounds. Many of these sounds can drive people to violence.

    • You’re absolutely right, Gary!

      We can advise people, and we must do our best to influence our children while they are under our guidance, but with such a variety of artists who promote negative lyrics and sounds it’s an uphill battle.

      However, we must continue to shed light whenever and wherever we can. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your input.


  • Hi Judy,

    I’ve always believed music had some effect on our brains whether good or bad. I once saw a study how music affects plants. Classical music was very soothing to the plant on one side and flourished whereas on the other side hard rock music was played, and the plant eventually started dying.

    I love music and just as you described it makes me feel good and at times relaxing or soothing depending on what I am listening.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Have a great day!

    • Hi Rosa,

      Thank you for stopping by. I find it interesting that plants respond to music also. My desire is that visitors to this site would be informed and would make any appropriate changes for the sake of their health and wellbeing.

      Thanks for sharing.

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