Music therapy: Rerouting the brain note by note

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Mar 282013

Author: Kelsey Peterson


Music is a universal medium that constantly surrounds us, but it is used for more than just entertainment. Music and its function in the brain play an essential role in rehabilitation. Music is such an incredible medium because it ignites every part of the brain. This allows versatility in the patients it can assist, including those struggling psychologically, physically, cognitively and with their speech. People struggling with speech, for example, can sing words that they can’t normally say, providing a different medium of speech therapy that redirects the brain in a more effective way. As addressed by Dr. Michael Thaut, director for the Center of Biomedical Research, music is a feel-good mechanism, expanding music’s opportunity and ability within the field of therapy. According to Valorie Salimpoor, a neuroscientist at McGill University, dopamine is involved with motivation and addiction. Salimpoor and colleagues conducted several studies that prove the relationship between dopamine and feelings of motivation, reward, and pleasure. They found that when the brain interprets the electrical patterns produced by music, acoustical energy is turned into neurological activity and that is why music makes us feel so strongly.

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