In fact, music can have such a powerful impact on the brain that therapists are now using music therapy to keep Alzheimer’s’ patients alive and alert even longer.
In Alive Inside, a documentary about music therapy, Henry Dreher, who was 94 at the time, was spending his time with his head hung sitting in his wheelchair. When social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, puts headphones on Henry and plays some Cab Calloway on an iPod, Henry’s world changes.
Henry raises his head, opens his eyes, and lights up in a way that shows vitality and recognition. He starts singing along with the music. Henry reacted the same way to music for four years until he passed.
The research on music and memory is extensive, and we’ve certainly only scratched the surface of its impact.
How can you harness the power of music to help you solve riddles and tap into your memory?
There are a couple of schools of thought here (yes, pun intended)…
1- Listen to what you love and what’s familiar
Your brain may respond best when you listen to music you know well if you need to intensely concentrate.
New music is surprising; since you don’t know what to expect, you are inclined to listen closely to see what comes next, distracting you from your task at hand.
With familiar music, you know what comes next. Listening is easy. It requires less focus.
Sure, listening to new music has other benefits at other times in our lives, but if you’re looking for music to trigger focus and allow you to access new parts of your brain, some say sticking to what you know is best.
2- Listen to music compositions specifically created for brain function
Recently a few music subscription sites have launched that claim to be based on neuroscience and alter brain productivity.
“Focus@will uses the brain-shaping features of sound to keep your mind from avoiding two undesirable states: distraction and habituation.
You already know about distraction – it’s what happens when you have a video on in the background, or your kid is crying, or you turn on the radio while you’re working. Part of your brain is focused on the distractor, and you can’t concentrate on your work. But what about habituation? Habituation is the other extreme – your mind gets bored with your surroundings (environmental habituation) as well as whatever you’re working on (goal habituation). Because your mind seeks novelty, habituation leads to checking your social media, opening your email, or calling a friend rather than making continuous progress on the screenplay or code you’re writing.
Keeping your mind from being distracted away from your work while simultaneously keeping you from habituating to your work is the key to focus@will’s audio technology. Without sharing our “secret sauce,” we can tell you that we do this by making sure that each piece of music is related to the previous piece in a way that keeps you from being distracted by the changes, but that each piece of music is different enough from the previous piece so that you don’t habituate to the music or your goal. In this way, we balance your mind between the two poles of distraction and habituation, keeping you focused on your work.”
Try out these services and see if it works for you. The claims are compelling and it’s worth a try!
- Focus@Will — unique library of instrumental music that you won’t find anywhere else. Every track has been remixed, re-edited and scientifically remastered specifically for focus enhancement.
- Brain.fm — original compositions, designed to stream for specific periods of time. Just choose whether you’re trying to work, relax, or sleep, and then drill down a little, and the service will build a “brainwave” of music for you to listen to.
No matter what type of music you choose to listen to when trying to focus, tap into memories, or even be productive, there’s no denying the power music has to take us to another place inside our brains.
Turn on some tunes and take your turn in The RiddleVerse. Win some money and have some fun. It’s a no-brainer.