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Music is medicine

10:14, 6th August 2019
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When one listens to music, we utilize our entire brain. Scientists are still trying to analyze exactly how music affects us in the manner it does, but what they do know is that music has a very beneficial effect on our brain. One of the largest effects music has on us, is the health benefits to our brain.

A young student plays with a colourful harp

Daniel Levitin, a psychologist at Montreal’s McGill University studies the neuroscience of music. Levitin, along with his associates, put together three experiments to help figure out exactly what is occurring in our brain when we listen to music. Levitin published 400 study meta-analysis, one of which was done with a group experiencing anxiety because they were about to undergo surgery. One group of the study listened to music prior to their surgery, while a second group were given medication to help calm them. The group who listened to music were actually more relaxed prior to their surgery than the group who received medication.

Not only does music help with anxiety, but also with pain management. Studies have shown that since music helps relax people, it is also great for those who are giving birth. A possible reason for this is because listening to music releases endorphins, which make people happy. The endorphins help counteract and distract people away from the pain.

Karen Karana Tse moved to Vancouver at an early age where she studied and majored in music therapy. She studied music for an unusual reason. When she was nine, she underwent brain surgery to remove blood clots and the process needed to be repeated when she was 12. Doctors were concerned that, as the surgeries involved removing parts of her brain, her brain development would be impaired, especially as she was so young. They encouraged her to learn music in order to stimulate her brain development. By learning the piano, Tse improved her development of perseverance and physical coordination during this recovery period.

A wide range of learning resources help students access music

‘Music changed my life. After the entire trauma, I began to believe in the power of music and through personal experience, recognized that proper music training could improve a child’s brain development and help improve children’s physical and mental development,’ Tse explains.

Tse’s childhood experience inspired her to start her music career. She has been a music teacher in Hong Kong for more than a decade by providing basic courses in piano, violin and harp for young children aged 2 to 8. Combining years of teaching children music, she set up her proprietary String & Keyboard Musik Program four years ago including a series of colored mini-instruments for use within her program.

In 2018, String & Keyboard Musik Program has been operating within schoolsthroughout 48 cities in 11 countries and over the past two years, her children’s music instrument programmes have won awards in the UK and the USA.

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