How the Mind Processes Music


Science is catching up with what music therapists have been witnessing for a lot of many years — the truth that music can change the way in which an individual feels, thinks, and behaves. Because of medical applied sciences, the general public has woke up to the ability and potential of utilizing music in virtually each well being and academic context — and why it’s vital that we do.

For 1000’s of years, folks have sung, carried out, and loved music. Researchers have constantly noticed that folks from all corners of the world take heed to or create some kind of music, and that each one folks acknowledge music once they hear it. Whereas music from numerous cultures differs in taste and has myriad totally different meanings and feelings related to it, each single tradition makes music.

Neurologists have lengthy identified that there have been areas of the mind particularly devoted to processing music, and with the appearance of superior mind imaging know-how, they’ve found that music’s attain is way extra in depth than beforehand believed. Once we take heed to music, sound vibrations within the ear are transformed to neural messages and transmitted to the thalamus, the mind’s “sensory relay station.” After reaching the thalamus, sound data is handed to the auditory cortex and instantaneously damaged down into many alternative parts together with, however not restricted to, timing, pitch, and timbre (tone). Auditory data can be despatched to different elements of the mind to be in contrast in opposition to historic associations and emotional responses (do I prefer it or not?), stimulating many elements of the mind in each hemispheres.

Though neurologists are nonetheless exploring how the auditory cortex features, they now consider that music processing is far more advanced than initially imagined, and includes many extra elements of the mind than beforehand suspected. 

Bonus – right here is all of the corresponding analysis from the ebook Wellness, Wellplayed (the house of this illustration)  

Prefrontal Cortex music influences our cognitive processes

Moreno, S., Can Music Affect Language and Cognition? Modern Music Evaluation, 2009. 28(3): p. 329-345.  

Motor Cortex

concerned in music-related actions together with dancing and taking part in

Li, G., et al., Figuring out enhanced cortico-basal ganglia loops related to extended dance coaching. Scientific Reviews, 2015. 5(1): p. 10271.

Herholz, Sibylle C. and Robert J. Zatorre, Musical Coaching as a Framework for Mind Plasticity: Conduct, Operate, and Construction. Neuron, 2012. 76(3): p. 486-502.

Corpus Callosum

connects the 2 hemispheres and is bigger in musicians

Schlaug, G., et al., Elevated corpus callosum dimension in musicians. Neuropsychologia, 1995. 33(8): p. 1047-1055.

Münte, T.F., E. Altenmüller, and L. Jäncke, The musician’s mind as a mannequin of neuroplasticity. Nat Rev Neurosci, 2002. 3(6): p. 473-8.

Steele, C.J., et al., Early Musical Coaching and White-Matter Plasticity within the Corpus Callosum: Proof for a Delicate Interval. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2013. 33(3): p. 1282-1290. material/33/3/1282


enhances our reminiscences of emotional experiences

Hermans, E.J., et al., How the amygdala impacts emotional reminiscence by altering mind community properties. Neurobiol Be taught Mem, 2014. 112: p. 2-16.

Yang, Y. and J.-Z. Wang, From Construction to Conduct in Basolateral Amygdala-Hippocampus Circuits. Frontiers in Neural Circuits, 2017. 11(86).


helps course of and regulate rhythm and timing

Nozaradan, S., et al., Particular contributions of basal ganglia and cerebellum to the neural monitoring of rhythm. Cortex, 2017. 95: p. 156-168.

Sensory Cortex

processes tactile suggestions when dancing or taking part in devices

Olszewska, A.M., et al., How Musical Coaching Shapes the Grownup Mind: Predispositions and Neuroplasticity. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 2021. 15(204).

Borich, M.R., et al., Understanding the function of the first somatosensory cortex: Alternatives for rehabilitation. Neuropsychologia, 2015. 79(Pt B): p. 246-255

Auditory Cortex

analyzes sounds and tone

Nelken, I., Music and the Auditory Mind: The place is the Connection? Frontiers in human neuroscience, 2011. 5: p. 106-106.


concerned in music reminiscences, experiences and context

Koelsch, S., Investigating the neural encoding of emotion with music. Neuron, 2018. 98(6): p. 1075-1079

Visible Cortex

stimulated when studying music, watching others dance or music movies

Huff, T., N. Mahabadi, and P. Tadi, Neuroanatomy, Visible Cortex, in StatPearls. 2021, StatPearls Publishing. Copyright © 2021, StatPearls Publishing LLC.: Treasure Island (FL)