But did you know that new research shows that listening to music can synchronize our bodies and brains? That's why we love going to concerts. We connect with other concert-goers through the shared music. Many romantic couples started out as two individuals who met at the same concert. It's almost magic how music brings us together. If you're a little older, you might remember the Coca Cola commercial, "I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony..." It might seem silly, but science shows us that is could happen! And here's why.
It's pretty hard to go to a concert, and NOT sing along with the band. Singing, it seems, is a powerful bond that can glue us together. One reason is that we hear music from the time we're born...our mothers sing us lullabies. Some researchers say that we can hear music even before we are born. Every important event from parties to graduations to weddings, and even funerals, are marked with music. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn't think that frogs, and humans, are wired for music. Humans even have a part of their brain that's dedicated to processing music! This backs up the theory that humans have a special connection to music. Listening to music, and singing together has been shown to positively impact the neuro-chemicals in our brains, many of which play an important part in closeness and connection. Singing together, in a social group, like choirs and glee clubs, serves to strengthen the bond that we normally get when we belong to any social club. Music releases endorphin. And we all know endorphin is that wonderful little hormone that makes us feel good and happy.
New research even shows that performing music, through singing, drumming, and dancing actually increases our tolerance to pain. Additionally, the performing of music resulted in greater positive emotions, suggesting a new pathway that humans can use to feeling closer to one another. I wonder if that's the reason why band members can travel together for extended period of time and still manage to get along...
Playing, or listening to, music may be the all-important bond necessary for any group spending extended time together. And, believe it or not, the bigger the group (music or choir) the faster that bond happens. But music does more than make us feel good and create bonds with others, it can create a group's sense of identity.
Researchers Chris Loerch and Nathan Arbuckle, found that "musical reactivity, how much one is affected by listening to music, is tied to group processes such as one's sense of belonging to a group, positive associations with ingroup members, bias towards outgroup members, and responses to group threat in the various populations."
It seems that music reactivity is casually related to 'basic social motivations' and that reactivity is related to markers of successful group living. In simple terms, music makes us feel connected to each other.
That got me to wonder how music can do all that. Well, it seems, most research indicates that it's the rhythm that helps us to sync our brains and bodies. A study showed that even two year-old's can synchronize their body movements to a drum beat; more accurately, to a human they could see playing the drum, rather than to a drum machine. The tendency to synchronize becomes more important as we grow. Humans tend to listen to one of three types of music; rhythmic music, non-rhythmic music, or 'white noise.' People who regularly listen to rhythmic music are more productive and are happier performing their tasks, than those who listen to other types of music.
So, it seems, music truly does bond us together. That's why music is an integral part of any good party, or other special event. It nice to know, too, that listening to music is actually beneficial. Turning on some tunes motivates me. In fact, I've been listening to classic "Frog 'n Roll" the whole time I've been writing this.
Rock on my friends, rock on. You know you love it, and now you you know it's good for you, too!