I 1981 fik den franske kulturminister Jack Lang idéen om at hylde almindelige menneskers musikalske talenter, og i 1982 blev den første Fête de la Musique afholdt i Paris. Siden da er det blevet et verdensomspændende fænomen, hvor amatørmusikere og professionelle musikere opfordres til at optræde. Alle koncerter er gratis for at gøre musikken tilgængelig for alle. Sennheiser talte med Dr. Julia Jones - en iværksætter, forfatter, musiker og kommunikator, der har brugt over 30 år på at studere musikkens indvirkning på folks sundhed og velvære - for at forstå den sande betydning af denne globale fest, der finder sted i 120 lande den 21. juni hvert år.
“The health benefits associated with music engagement is well documented and the body of evidence has grown significantly over the past decade,” says Jones. “This has been accompanied by official recognition by government bodies, the music industry and the World Health Organisation.
“Music is being recognised as much more than mere entertainment. The soundwaves and vibrations absorbed by us during listening (and created by us during singing) trigger action potentials that electro-chemically activate almost all regions of our brain.”
Jones notes that health benefits that have been identified include pain management, mood regulation, decreased agitation, improved posture, improved cognitive health, boosted self-esteem, increased lung function, improved sleep quality and positive neuroplasticity (to name just a few).
“The act of creation and composition also delivers profound health benefits,” she continues. “Creativity has been the subject of increasing attention by researchers in recent years. Unlike some tasks there is no specific brain region that drives creativity. It involves multiple brain circuits on both sides of the brain.”
Allowing our mind wandering network (known as ‘default mode’) to engage enables us to be particularly creative and generate original ideas. The human brain is the most complex structure so far found in the known universe. Exactly how it composes music remains somewhat of a mystery but the rise in fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) studies in recent years is giving some fascinating insights. Functional MRI scans provide a real-time insight into the activity in brain regions during a task.
“It’s becoming evident that as a professional musician or composer you are building and maintaining a brain that is highly networked,” Jones adds. “This is known as plasticity and maintaining this high density of brain connections throughout life helps reduce the risk of cognitive decline.”
Composing outside of your comfort zone also helps give those circuits an extra workout. For example, composing on an instrument on which you’re less skilled, or in a genre that is outside of your usual style. These things help push your creative brain into new gears, forcing it to make new connections.
Listening back to those compositions (or any compositions) provide additional health and wellness effects. Our brainwaves synchronise when listening to music. This means we can manipulate their intensity. This is one of the reasons that makes music such a superb biohack for stress and focus.
Listening back to a composition that pleases you produces additional emotional responses and can trigger mood modulating brain chemicals. Likewise listening back to music that has some sort of association to positive memories also triggers a positive mood effect and can dial down the stress response.
Whilst they cannot offset bad nutritional habits, poor sleep and a highly stressful lifestyle these positive health effects of music composition can be supercharged if they are layered on top of a lifestyle that is generally healthy.
So, this World Music Day, why not pick up an instrument from a part of the world you’ve never tried before and experience the magic of making new music.