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    Wanna Become Smarter and More Creative?

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    jazz

    I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! According to scientific studies people who listen to

    jazz music are proven to be smarter and more creative. I repeat, “people who listen to jazz music are smarter and more creative”.

    If you haven’t already jumped out of your seat and headed towards your record player or Spotify smooth jazz playlist, here’s a little more insight on the subject.

    I may have been been exaggerating a bit about the smarter and more creative part. That’s a bit difficult to prove. However, the benefits of listening to jazz music, specifically, have certainly been proven. It can affect your memory, focus, and mood.  Listening to jazz is a stress reliever and can reduce blood pressure by 30%, reduce pain by 21%, and can be as effective as a massage. It’s a pretty good excuse to nuzzle up to someone special on the couch as well.

    Here are a few insightful articles about how listening to jazz music makes you a cool cat

    and just might change your life.

    Mind, Body & Jazz: 
How Jazz Can Improve Your Health

     

     

    All That Jazz: People Who Listen To Jazz Are Smarter And More Creative

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    Keep on singing!

    image

    Have you ever said these words? “I’m not a good singer”, “I just can’t sing”, or “You don’t wanna hear me sing”. Perhaps you’ve been known to say, “I sound great in the shower.”
    Somewhere along the way in our lifetime we get separated into categories of great, average, and terrible singers. This creates confidence or complexes for us at a very early age.
    There are so many factors that contribute to being a good singer, ranging from bone structure to posture and breath support. Some things are just genetic blessings but MOST of the traits of a good singer can be taught and learned.
    That’s great news!
    Check out this article which reveals some scientific reasons why just maybe you should keep on singing.

    http://www.interlude.hk/front/science-great-news-people-cant-sing/

     

     

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    Surprised? Cats Like Cat Music

    As you’ve read before, dogs can be soothed by the sounds of human music but leave it up to cats to be more finicky.

     

    Recent research shows that cats do not care for human music and much prefer music tailored to their heartbeats, personal interests (e.g. birds) and vocal range. If you have ever been awakened late at night by a yowling alley cat, you know what we mean by vocal range. Researchers, hailing from the University of Wisconsin, Madison created a medley of tunes, catering to the cat’s playful side (what they call sonic catnip) as well as more soothing tunes. One is even aligned with the rhythm of purrs, which is remarkably consistent among all cat breeds.

     

    The research team’s website, which is appropriately titled Musicforcats.com, includes music samples and you can download three full-length songs for a fee. The sonic catnip tune is way too fast for our liking, although we thought the tweeting of birds was a nice touch. We much preferred Rusty’s Tune, which is slower.

     

    What makes this music different from the other cat CDs and music-centered television shows that are already available?

     

    According to the Musicforcats website: “To the best of our knowledge, this marks the first time that an art form has been shown by scientific test and observation to engender the measurable appreciation of any species other than human.”

     

     

    In fact, a study revealed that cats rubbed the speakers with their faces when cat-centered music played while Bach’s music did not elicit a response.

     

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    Hard Work, Not Just Brilliance

    When you think of some of the greatest composers — Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner — the words genius and virtuoso comes to mind.

     

    Yet, those labels may be affecting the diversity of music composers today.

     

    Public Radio International reported on new research that found when success in academic disciplines is attributed to innate brilliance, fewer women have doctorates in that field. Conversely, when success is attributed to hard work and dedication, the gender balance is more equal.

     

    Why?

     

    Well no one is certain but Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck believes that it is easier to exclude people when abstract language is used.

     

    “When you think something is about innate genius, then you think you can judge it,” she says. “You can take a group of people and you can tell them, you have it, you don’t have it, you have it, you don’t have it.” In the high brilliance fields women are not encouraged to believe that success is due to “a way of thinking, a way of analyzing ideas and issues, and the more you’re in it the better you become at it.”

     

    Think this study applies only to those whose field requires lab coats or staring in front of a computer screen typing code? Think again. Music composition is considered a field that people think requires a high degree of innate brilliance as well as non-scientific disciplines such as philosophy and economics.

     

    You may already know, those of here at The Music Junction dislike when skills are considered innate, including singing. Anything can be accomplished with some hard work and dedication!

     

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    The Universal Appeal of Music

    Music’s ability to have our favorite tunes feel so personal and unique makes it such a special experience. Yet, recent research proves that certain aspects of music are universal, and it doesn’t matter if you live a city or one of the world’s most remote villages.

     

    A group of researchers played clips of some of Western culture’s most popular music – from Star Wars to Pyscho to Schindler’s List – along with indigenous music from Mbenzélé Pygmies who live in the Congolese rainforest. While wearing medical devices that monitored their heart and breathing rates, participants were asked to describe how the music made them feel ( i.e. calm, happy) by selecting an array of emoticons.

     

    Both groups agreed that slower-paced music felt calming and faster-paced music felt exciting. Yet, the Montreal city dwellers reported a wider range of emotions to the music they heard, including negative emotions. The Pygmies, who have a tradition of using songs to uplift spirits, reported more positive emotions to songs they heard.

     

    “People have been trying to figure out for quite a while whether the way that we react to music is based on the culture that we come from or on some universal features of the music itself,” says Stephen McAdams, from McGill’s Schulich School of Music. “Now we know that it is actually a bit of both.”

     

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    Music Therapy Helps Families

    It is well documented about music’s ability to make the brain a better, high-performing organ but a recent new story about a music therapy program for dysfunctional families made our hearts swell.

     

    Reuters reports on a study published in the Journal of Music Therapy that shows how music therapy can be just as effective as traditional programs for helping to repair and rebuild dysfunctional families. Researchers identified 18 families in which the children were on the verge of being removed from their parents due to emotional neglect. Half of the families were exposed to music therapy programs that involved playing instruments, listening to music and playing musical games with the presence of a therapist. The other half of the participants underwent more traditional treatment.

     

    After six to 10 music therapy sessions, parents said they felt less stressed by their children’s moods and felt more empathetic toward them and, overall, reported having less negative feelings toward them.

     

    Yet, all families can benefit from shared musical experiences, not just those who attend formalized music therapy sessions, says Stine Jacobsen who led the study.

     

    “Singing together or singing for your infant or toddler can be a very intimate bonding activity and comes naturally for some families,” Jacobson says. “The earlier you start interacting nonverbally with your child in a meaningful way the more you might see or feel the benefit.”

     

    So sing out loud with your children. Dance in silly ways and listening to your favorite songs. It just might make your family stronger.

     

    The benefits of music therapy has been well documented in other patients. Read our blog post about music therapy’s effectiveness for Alzheimer’s patients.

     

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    Listening to Music Can Reduce Pain

    Next time you’re in pain, skip the medicine and slip on some headphones.

     

    A study at Northwestern University followed 60 children (from 9- to 14-year-olds) who were in the hospital following a surgery. Doctors allowed one group of pediatric patients to listen to any music of their choosing (pop, country, rock) while a second group were allowed listen to audio books and a third group sat in silence with noise-cancelling headphones.

     

    The children who listened to at least 30 minutes of music or audiobooks reported feeling less pain while those who listened to nothing experienced no reduction in pain. Given that powerful painkillers can cause breathing problems in young children, the medical community is always in search of ways to alleviate pain for their youngest patients. The latest discovery can be a powerful tool.

     

    Dr. Santhanam Suresh, a professor of anesthesiology and pediatrics told HealthDay News: “There is a certain amount of learning that goes on with pain. The idea is, if you don’t think about it, maybe you won’t experience it as much. We are trying to cheat the brain a little bit. We are trying to refocus mental channels on to something else.”

     

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    Music Lessons Help with Focus and Emotional Control

    There may be a lot of unknowns in the world of science but one thing that is clear: playing music does wonder for your brain.

     

    The latest research published in the November edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry shows that music lessons can help kids focus, control their emotions and diminish anxiety.

     

    Researchers from the University of Vermont looked at MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) brain scans of 232 children who range in ages from 6 to 18 and looked at ways music instruction affected the thickness of the cortex, which is the outer layer of the brain. The theory is that thicker cortices preserve the effectiveness of the brain’s functions while thinner cortices reduce the efficacy. The research team found that those who participated in music lessons had thick cortices in the regions of the brain related to motor control or coordination, executive function — which includes attention, memory, organization and planning — and processing of emotions.

     

    The research team believes in the Vermont Family Based Approach, a school of thought that young people’s environment – parents, teachers, friends, pets, extracurricular activities – contributes to their psychological health. The team believes that music instruction is a critical component to health, especially for children living with psychological disorders.

     

    In their study, the authors write: “Such statistics, when taken in the context of our present neuroimaging results, underscore the vital importance of finding new and innovative ways to make music training more widely available to youths, beginning in childhood.”

     

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    2014: A Year That Showed The Many Benefits of Music Instruction

    This year has proven to be an eventful one in discovering the benefits of playing music. Music.Mic listed the top 12 stories of 2014 and we’re proud that we’ve covered so many of these issues already in this blog included how music lessons can improve executive function, help with literacy and close the achievement gap.

     

    Here are some of our favorite stories from Music.Mic, ranging from the insightful to the humorous. What is your favorite story of 2014?

     

    •  Sounds Quality Affects Enjoyment. Rack up a point for vinyl lovers. Researchers found that the sound quality of music  impacts our emotional response to it. Volunteers were divided into two groups — one listened to a standard stereo 96-kbps sound and the other heard a song in 256-kbps audio format. The people who listened to the higher kpbs audio were 66 percent more likely to register pleasurable responses to what they heard. Vinyl records, on the other hand, plays at 1,000 kbps so start pulling out your old vinyls!

     

    •  Music Can Help Treat ADHD. Scientists from the University of Graz in Austria report that children who play music have significantly thicker grey matter in brain areas linked to attention and concentration. These areas in the brain are the same regions that are lacking in the brain scan of children living with ADHD.  Researchers hope that taking music lessons can increase grey matter for those living with this disorder.

     

    • Music Can Affect Your Alcohol Consumption.  Researchers from Dartmouth College and the University of Pittsburgh found that teens who like “songs with explicit alcohol references are two to three times more likely to engage in binge drinking than teenagers who aren’t familiar with booze-addled pop.” Changing a teen’s behavior may be difficult given the prevalence of alcohol references in today’s pop music. In fact, teens listen to an verage of 2.5 hours of music a day and, in that time frame, are exposed to eight references of alcohol brands. The study’s author was right:  “Our music is giving us drinking problems.”

     

    What’s in store of 2015 for music and science? We cannot wait to find out more benefts of music lessons.

     

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    Promoting Science Through Music

    When we imagine the people who work for NASA, we think of rocket scientists who help us understand life outside of Earth. But do you know they also put out great music videos?

    Well, their interns do.

    Interns at Johnson Space Center in Texas have a unique tradition of creating funny parody videos with versions of “Gangnam Style” and the “Harlem Shake” that had us laughing. Now, they have come up with a twist to Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” with “All About That Space.”

    The video have interns dancing among some pretty cool shoots of the space center. It’s a nice inside glimpse of their “office,” which many of us will never see for ourselves.

    And what exactly do they sing about? Here’s a sample:

     

    Hey they’re working so hard, don’t you love these NASA guys?

    They will take us so far the first time that Orion flies.

    You know we’re travellin’ to deep destinations ‘fore to long,

    So if that’s what you’re into then join in and ride along.

    I’m all about that space

    ‘Bout that space, space travel

    I’m all about that space

    ‘Bout that space, space travel

    I’m all about that space

    ‘Bout that space

    Hey!

     

    The video was meant to promote the test launch of Orion on Dec. 5, which worked on us. We discovered that Orion will someday take people deep in space, hopefully as fars as Mars! The test flight successfully circled the earth twice in just over four hours.

    Also, if you need more proof on how much scientists like music, check out this blog post!

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