Why do you listen to music? Is it to distract yourself from a repetitive task like running or cleaning? Is it to destress after a hard day at work? Is it to help you focus on your math homework? Or is it simply because you enjoy the rhythms and harmonies?
People listen to music for a variety of reasons because music can elicit a variety of responses. Professor Lee Bartel from the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto studies these responses and the effects they can have on our brains and our bodies. The study of music is inherently multidisciplinary, says Bartel: from psychology and neuroscience to physiology and medicine.
As Founding Director of the Music and Health Research Collaboratory (MaHRC), Bartel is establishing new collaborations between music and health researchers. He has found that music of certain frequencies can drive brainwave activity at those frequencies. If a condition or disease is caused by a dysregulation of the brain’s natural rhythm, then perhaps this type of musical treatment can help restore order. Studies are ongoing looking at musical stimulation for patients suffering from fibromyalgia and Alzheimer’s. Synchronizing music tempo to pace can also lead to significantly longer workouts and better workout compliance in cardiac patients.
These are definitely some good vibrations!
Check out our Researchers in Reality series to find out what music leading Canadian researchers are listening to!