How Music Affects Your Brain

This video is testament to how melodies and lyrics lurk in our brains, ready to be released at the sound of a few notes — lifting our spirits, connecting us with our fellow human beings and evoking deeply buried memories as powerful as anything in the human experience.

For more than 50 years, the medical specialty known as music therapy has harnessed this extraordinary aspect of music to treat diseases ranging from depression to chronic pain to movement disorders to autism to Alzheimer’s disease. But only in recent years has the scientific community begun to penetrate the mystery of how something as ephemeral as an acoustic signal — mere air vibrations — can have such profound effects on damaged bodies and brains. In the process, experts are gaining a deeper understanding of the importance of music in everyone’s day-to-day life, and its astonishing effects on the healthy, normal brain.

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