Music and the Brain: How Music Can Affect the Mind

It is no secret music affects emotions. When you are sad and listen to a sad song, your sadness is usually increased. When you are in a good mood and listen to something with an upbeat tempo, most of the time, you feel happier.

Also, music can be a fantastic coping tool through many of life’s hardships. Many therapists recommend music therapy to help with difficulties. Keep reading down below if you would like to read about music throughout history, how music impacts the mind, and how I use music to improve my mood.

The History of Music

According to the website The Method Behind the Music, the earliest forms of music were probably from the percussion family (drums, bongos, etc.). There is no written evidence, but the origin of the sounds can be traced back to the South American Indians and African natives. They used these beats for religious purposes.

It was around 800 BCE; the first written musical piece was found. It was a religious hymn written in cuneiform. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines cuneiform as forming or arranged in a cross.

If you would like to read more about the inventions of instruments and where they came from, the article History of Music, Pre-Renaissance Music: The Evolution of Instruments and Theory from the website mentioned above is a great read and very insightful.

These musical advancements are the very foundation of the music we listen to today. Music is very influential and can change our whole mood, either for the good or bad. Furthermore, we use it to learn, improve our memory, reduce stress, therapy, praise, entertainment, and more.

I decided to include a small intro to the history of music to show how far we have come. Plus, I have a natural love of history and wanted to add a little to this post.

How Does Music Impact the Mind?

Music can impact the mind in several ways, for both the good and the bad. There are countless numbers of scientific studies that show how music affects the brain. There are useful benefits and bad benefits when it comes to music. I will go over the ones listed in the picture in more detail down below.

music and the brain how music affects the brain

It can help people gain motivation. Music is a great tool when it comes to needing extra motivation, whether for cleaning the house, studying for an exam, or clearing thoughts to become a more positive version of yourself. Furthermore, music can make exercise a lot more enjoyable if you tend to dread working out. Making a list of upbeat, inspirational, and motivational music is always a great idea.

Music can also help people improve their mood. Listening to your favorite songs is known to help with stress and relaxation. Singing is also a great way to de-stress.

Furthermore, music can be mixed in with lessons and make education fun. I remember growing up and learning how to spell “independent” from a song. Children learn the ABC and other songs through nursery rhymes. School House of Rock is also a fun musical way to learn.

As you can see, music has quite a few great benefits. These are only a few from the top of my head.


Unfortunately, a lot of today’s music promotes violence, drugs, hate, and negativity. We absorb lyrics through our subconscious. I always tell my younger family members to never mistake a good beat that has bad lyrics for a great song. The rhythm may be amazing, but if the words are promoting hatred, violence, drugs, or anything like that, then, in my opinion, it is a crappy song.

I will never understand why some artist uses their talent to promote things like hate and violence. Especially when they have the skill and opportunity to inspire millions to do good through their music. The younger generation is watching and learning from the older generations, they are either going to take from it and copy what they see and hear or stand up to it. Either way, it is causing a division.

This is merely my opinion; it is not to down the artists or anything. I just believe promoting things like drugs and violence should never be a thing. Now rising above that type of lifestyle, I will always support that kind of music.

Furthermore, a lot of today’s music is disrespectful. Calling people out their names and being completely rude. There are certain songs and styles I do not mind. For example, rap battles. I love rap battles. It is a part of a rap battle to “act” and to challenge one another.

Its songs like I’m a dog and calling women bitches, hoes, and thots, are more to what I am referring to. Or degrading men and stereotyping. I just don’t understand why it’s “cool” to call one another disrespectful things, even in the form of a song.

People wonder why there is so much disrespect. Well, I mean it is promoted through music, tv, and those we are around, what do you expect? Surrounding yourself with that type of lifestyle is what you are going to attract.

Just as some music can help improve your mood, it can also have the reverse effect. When you are depressed, and you listen to a sad song 9 out of 10 times, you are going to be more depressed. Songs can easily tug on our emotions.

Music can both be good for mental health or bad. Now, I am not going to sit here and say the music I listen to is 100% positive. It is not. I am just mentioning some of the ways it can affect our mental state of mind. Humans are impressionable by nature. If you surround yourself with negativity, that is what you are more than likely going to attract and how you are going to ultimately feel. Same with positivity. Try to find a balance.

How Music Helps Me

If you have been following this blog and website, then you know some of my story and how I grew up in and out of behavioral hospitals as a teen and young adult. Music was written down in my chart as a form of therapy. If I became too overwhelmed, I had the option to listen to the radio for 30 minutes to an hour to calm down. I was also able to start taking guitar lessons with a group of other kids who used music as a form of therapy.

For as long as I can remember, I have used music as a way to escape. I would blast my radio and sing to the top of my lungs, not caring who I was bothering in the house. When I could not express how I felt, the music could. Music is such an essential part of society, whether people acknowledge that or not.

Here are some of the things that I benefited from by using music as a form of therapy:

  • I became calmer when overwhelmed
  • Listening to the lyrics and feeling the emotions through songs helped me understand my feelings better
  • I was able to focus on the music rather than the emotional pain I had on the inside
  • My depression lessened with upbeat music when I was upset
  • I gained motivation to exercise and lose weight with upbeat and uplifting songs
  • Making a sleep playlist to help me fall asleep easier. I have insomnia and can stay up for days on end, having a sleep playlist helps me rest even when I cannot fully sleep.

As you can see, music has helped me in many ways. I would love to hear some of the ways music has helped you in times of distress down below in the comments.

In Conclusion

Music has developed and advanced throughout the ages. As the music progressed, it became noticeable how music can influence the mind, whether for the good or bad. Music can also be used as a form of therapy to help people cope with life’s hardships.

“Musical innovation is full of danger to the State, for when modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the State always change with them.” ― Plato


Thank you for taking the time to read this post, and thank you to everyone who reads, comments, likes, and shares the posts on this website. You guys are amazing, and I am very thankful for the kind words and motivation to keep following my dream of helping others out of the darkest parts of their minds.

What kind of music do you enjoy?


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