Live Music Reduces Stress
Listening to your favorite music can have a calming effect (even if it happens to be wild, loud or atonal). That’s the power of music. You probably already know this, but now you have science to confirm it.
Within the discipline of neuroscience, there has emerged something called “neuromusicology.” Researchers hope to answer a few questions: Does music influence the mind? Are there measurable changes in hormones? Why does music affect the brain?
Dozens of studies have set out to uncover the chemical effect of listening to music, measuring changes in parameters including neurotransmitters, cytokines, hormones, vital signs, lymphocytes and immunoglobulins.
A 2014 review by the Centre for Performance Science in the U.K. concluded that music certainly does impact a number of biological systems. But these studies have almost exclusively been conducted in clinical settings or laboratory conditions, using recorded, rather than live music.
The latest study used 117 volunteers from concert performances showcasing the music of composer Eric Whitacre. Over the course of 2 separate concerts, the researchers took saliva samples from the participants before the performance and then 60 minutes later.
Across the board, the team found a drop in glucocorticoids, including significant reductions in cortisol and cortisone. Cortisol is often referred to as the “stress hormone.” When the body is under duress, cortisol spikes.
There were significant drops regardless of age, experience at concerts or musical ability. The study authors note that this suggests “a universal response to concert attendance among audience members.”
So to maximize your musical relaxation quotient, you may want to take out those earbuds and go out to see a live musical performance near you.