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Effects of Music and Art on Personal Development

Updated on January 16, 2017

What is Sound

What is music that it could affect personal development? Music is made up of sounds developed through many sources. Sound is explained by science as a wave created by molecules vibrating against one another, that travels through a medium such as an object, water, or air. Music is a variety of audible tones the waves create as they are manipulated by length or density of the medium. What we hear are compressional, or longitudinal waves. In these waves particles run parallel with one another, and are pressed together at some points, and pulled apart at others.

Music and the Brain

The eardrum is a receptor of sound waves, which are then transformed into electrical signals that follow the auditory nerve to the auditory cortex. Here, the interpretation of the sound triggers responses that include; emotions; "...release of stress chemicals; impacts the development of new neural pathways in the brain", (Woods, Gae-Lynn, 2013).

There are many reports from research that show different types of sounds affecting people in various ways, including learning new languages. Music can enhance memory, cause chemical reaction within the brain and body that increases strength, stamina, balance, which can also be used to increase certain motor skills, critical thinking, creativity and decision making.

Different types of sounds have a profound effect on emotions, and creativity. One example is the changing scene in a movie where there is an exciting moment of action exhilarated by fast paced music, someone gets hurt, or dies and the music changes to trigger the expected mood and emotions. Something slow, or melancholy sets the stage for the observer to react emotionally with sadness, or tears. Some music provokes the desire to dance,

Now, imagine the opposite, going from a state of melancholy (instruments playing soft, slow music) to a heightened state of excitement (fast paced, or solid beat music). Add music that has a positive effect on emotions, and an individual can achieve more desired personal changes by triggering the desired mood for accomplishment.

An artist desiring to stir creativity may decide to listen to techno music at the beginning of a painting, as an inspiration for what to paint. As the painting advances, the intensity of the emotional stir of the music becomes evident in the style, colors, or subject depicted. The same artist might decide to paint something whimsical, and succeeds using the inspiration of orchestral music, chimes, violins, that moves his or her emotions and imagination into a realm of fantasy.

Likewise, someone who wants to project themselves to others differently may decide to listen to a type of music that would match the expected actions, or emotional response. Personally, when I want to attend certain events, I prepare by listening to music that best represents the atmosphere of that event. If it is a busy event, I listen to fast paced music, something that makes me feel strong, bold, confident.

According to John, Schinnerer, Ph.d., in his article for Ezine, Music Evokes Emotion and Influences How We Perceive the World (2009), many researchers observed certain songs not only triggered an emotional response, but some increased the ability to "...recall words that match the mood of the music". In another study by Stratton and Zalanowski in 1989, paintings were viewed by participants while listening to music selected by the researchers for each one. It was noted that participants rated the paintings according to the music they listened to. If the music was sad, the painting was perceived as sad, and if the music was happy the painting was rated as happy, with the perception of joy.

Testimonial

So, what does this all have to do with personal development? Music influences how we perceive the world, or environment around us, interpretation or perception of facial expressions of others, even the atmosphere within a particular environment.

In my own testimonial, for many years I wrestled with a sort of dysmorphic syndrome, meaning that what I perceived in the mirror was twisted, and malformed. I wanted to accept myself, and become more social projecting confidence, intelligence, and poise. Beginning to listen to music that had a positive, uplifting effect was a milestone for changes. Using the music while grooming, visual perception of my reflection became less defective. Confidence grew as positive affirmations were stated to 'self' in the mirror, and negative emotions depleted step by step. Application of music during learning sessions increased memory recall, and critical thinking skills. Discovery of misinterpretation of expressions and certain actions of others made me realize my perception was in need of adjustment. Upbeat, happy music while in other's presence improved perception countering prior negative interpretations.

About two years later I found two photos of myself, one about 1 year prior to the music and personal development, the other about a year after. The difference was so incredible that I had to place the two photos on one card with the dates below them. When people view the card, they ask what my mother was dying from (in reference to the photo taken 1 year prior to the changes). It was evident that negative thinking and perception wore me down, not only emotionally, but also physically. I looked about 20 years older than I was! The photo taken after the music and personal development began looked vibrant, full of life, very positive!

Art

Art, is also influential for positive brain activity, exercising creativity, but also short term and long term memory. Stress or negative experiences can lead to cognitive, social, and behavioral problems, but art defuses negativity. Any form of art whether dance, drawing, music, improves self management and impulse control by learning control with focus and motor skills. Art also helps to build self esteem and expression.

Music influences art by matching positive sound waves to physical action, utilizing brain functions to focus on positive action and reaction. The process is like breaking a habit. It only takes a few times of doing something over again to develop a habit, but it takes a little longer to replace that habit with something constructive to break it. Each time music and an art form are enacted, the process becomes easier, and positive effects replace negative reactions.

Martial Arts is a bodily art form, and practiced until the moves become second nature. The brain and body is coupled with the information, forms, moves and processes so there is an immediate positive response of the correct moves at the precise time to effectively deliver the end result. The same thing happens when music is coupled with art forms to achieve goals set by an individual to change behavioral patterns, and succeed in personal development.

The best suggestion is to listen to different variations of music, and take note of the emotional effects. Then you can decide which music inspires different feelings, emotions, actions that will enhance your desired outcome.

Health

Increased positive influences throughout the body promotes good health. Relaxation through therapy of listening to music, or art activities reduces the amount of negative chemical reaction, increases healing properties, creating a positive physiological environment. Various research has revealed music provokes antibodies that aid the immune system. Because music has shown to relieve stress, anxiety is reduced, and some people experience reduced cortisol. Add art in any form into the process and it becomes easier to 'learn', and make changes according to desired goals.

Over all, the way music and art contribute to personal development is to set up a positive environment for the mind and body to collectively operate in optimum capacity increasing cognitive skills, abilities to learn, and motivate changes with positive actions.

New Highlight

After speaking to quite a few people, it was discovered that music influences ideas, decision making, inventiveness, and one person indicated he experienced improvements in doing math. Relaxation, or the opposite of excited emotions or physical effects of music differ from person to person with results. One person may get physically motivated to move around which increases circulation throughout the body, and brain, in turn enhancing or promoting increased function in various parts of the brain.

Improved blood flow enhances the entire body function, burns calories, enhances brain function, and over all improves health. One can try different types of music to learn what genre promotes positive reactions, and use the results to promote a variety of desired results when prompted. An example may be : techno music promotes an individual to feel invigorated, energetic, so they might play this music when extra energy is needed to get a job done; then as an alternate, maybe the same day that individual needs to think about priorities, or make decisions and Indian flute music promotes deep thought through relaxation. Later in the day, maybe the individual needs to totally relax in order to sleep, so he or she would play very mild music, spa music, instrumentals that bring a tranquil feeling to the body and mind. Regardless of what type of music influences an individual, each person has his or her own genre's that promote various reactions. What works for one person, may not work for another, so it is important for individuals to test and determine what would work best.

Update

I am using music as inspirational motivation to move forward in a new career. It is amazing me there are specific tones that reach, or activate different emotions for different reactions. The neurology of our brain is so intricate, and wonderful!

I use a combination to write, expressing emotions, for art a totally different musical influence, and setting the mood for joy, calm yet upbeat mood effects. It is the psychology or neurology, intertwined with the influence of tones, and music. I am discovering new things every day!

References

References:

Schinnerer, J. (2009, January 30). Music Evokes Emotion and Influences How We Perceive the World. Retrieved December 5, 2014, from http://ezinearticles.com/?Music-­Evokes-­Emotion-­and-­Influences-­How-­We-­Perceive-­the-­World&id=1940408

Discovery of Sound in the Sea. Retrieved December 5, 2014 from http://www.dosits.org/science/sound/whatissound/

Woods, Gae-Lynn, (2013). The Effects of Sound in the Human Brain. Retrieved December 5, 2014 from http://www.livestrong.com/article/156262-the-effects-of-sound-in-the-human-brain/


© 2014 Marilyn

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    • Marilyn Fritz profile imageAUTHOR

      Marilyn 

      3 weeks ago from Nevada

      My husband recently purchased a "Wave Drum" for me. It is electronic and has many variations of drum sounds, some with some music with it. It is incredible how the different drum sounds cause different emotions. I'm experimenting with it to see which percussion sounds motivate me more. I will add to this article as I discover new reactions.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      This is very interesting. That makes perfect sense. I wonder if music can also be used to inspire creativity with writing, the same way as you described it helps with creative artwork.

      It's also interesting how music can affect self reflection and how listening to the right kind of music can make us feel better about ourselves.

      As you mentioned near the end of your hub, listening to mild mellow music before bedtime can help fall asleep easier. Sometimes I have trouble sleeping because my mind is so active, so I'm going to try this.

    • Marilyn Fritz profile imageAUTHOR

      Marilyn 

      3 years ago from Nevada

      Since writing this I decided to try listening to different types of music just to get an idea of which types trigger a happier mood, inspiration, and creativity. Much to my surprise, for me anyway, listening to some good Techno music moved me to get creative, and achieve more in less time! I won't abuse it though, because there are other types of music that also uplift, and calm me. It's good to have variety!

    • Marilyn Fritz profile imageAUTHOR

      Marilyn 

      3 years ago from Nevada

      Thank you for your response. I was also raised with both music and art, and my husband is a Sound/Lighting Engineer for live bands. I have observed many effects in myself, my husband, musicians and members of the audience on moods, and positive thinking. I am happy to hear that music has helped you. I personally could not imagine a world without music or art.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      This is an amazing phenomena, the connection between music and personal development. Having been raised as a musician, I knew that there was a connection, but it was not until I went through mental health treatment that I realized that I needed to use music to help me regulate my moods. This article is a great example of the effect that music can have on an individual person.

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