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Feelin' and Healin' Music!

"What's the importance of music in the life of a human being? " a question that stuck to mind as I was passing through Nedermann Hall. Although it appeared to be a casual one, it really stuck to my mind and turned into an unending quest for understanding the importance of music to human beings. I realise this topic can be a research field in itself, but it is worthwhile spending some time on it and thinking about it. And hey, what better platform to discuss these thoughts than on the IMACSian? So here's my attempt to share some thoughts with you all.  Music has always had a profound impact on the functionality and health of the human brain (an attempt to guess the universe while riding an airplane!!). Music is being used to heal, as well as actively enhance the brain's processing ability.

Let's think about this for a moment. It's hard to exaggerate the effect music can have on the human brain. A mere snippet of a song from our past can trigger memories as vivid as anything imaginable. A tune can induce emotions ranging from unabashed joy to deep sorrow and can drive listeners into states of patriotic fever to religious frenzy - to say nothing of it's legendary ability to soothe the savage breast.

The ability to experience and react to music is deeply embedded in the biological makeup of the nervous system. Although music is processed in the right brain hemisphere, it's done through activation of brain muscles calling for complex coordination between activity centers. Music can evidently trigger physical changes in the brain's wiring. Music can affect levels of various hormones, including cortisol (involved in arousal and stress), testosterone, and oxytocin (nurturing behavior). This research has been phenomenal in using the music therapy on some neuro-patients. Music therapy is thus being used where our traditional medical science fails to make an impact.

Music is being used actively to enhance the ability of human brain. Researchers at the University of Munster reported that their discovery music lessons in childhood actually enlarges the brain. An area used to analyze the pitch of musical note is enlarged 25% in musicians, compared to people who have never played an instrument. The findings suggest the area is enlarged through practice and experience. In a recent study, Dr. Frances Rauscher of the University of California proved with a sample of students with equal IQ level, the effect of music lessons. The study showed 46% boost in spatial IQ's for the young musicians compared to 6% improvement for children not taught music.

The great scientist, Albert Einstein, once said - it might surprise you - " I get the most joy out of my violin. I often think in music, I see my life in terms of music". Albert Einstein was the greatest Scientist of the 20th century. Many People nominated him for the Man of Century. No one believes he was a great violin player. He didn't care whether he was a great violin player. It was enough to be able to do it, and to benefit from it.

Music is a universal language. It is the language of the heart. Ask all those lovers around you, they will tell you how significant  music is in their lives! (I am pretty sure our Bollywood producers will definitely agree on this…of course, it's their bread 'n' butter!). There's 

Dattaguru Mahabal

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