Music, Brain, and Health: Exploring Biological Foundations of Music’s Health Effects

Eckart Altenmüller and Gottfried Schlaug

in Music, Health, and Wellbeing

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199586974
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738357 | DOI:
Music, Brain, and Health: Exploring Biological Foundations of Music’s Health Effects

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The brain as a highly dynamically organized structure can change and adapt as a result of activities and demands imposed by the environment. Musical activity has proven to be a powerful stimulus for this kind of brain adaptation, or brain plasticity. This chapter suggests that music-induced brain plasticity may produce benefits for wellbeing in general and may influence neurohormonal status as well as cognitive and emotional processes in healthy and diseased individuals, helping to improve various sensory, motor, coordinative, or emotional disabilities. It first reviews mechanisms of music-induced brain plasticity. It then clarifies the impact of music on emotion and neurohormones. It demonstrates the transfer effects of music exposure and making music to other cognitive and emotional domains, and shows examples of the potential of music to serve as a supportive and facilitative therapy in rehabilitation from motor impairment and aphasia following brain injury.

Keywords: brain adaptation; music-induced brain plasticity; musical activity; wellbeing; neurohormonal status; music therapy motor impairment; aphasia; brain injury

Chapter.  7635 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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