Music can make us laugh, cry, reflect, and remember.
Sometimes it can even make us dance like an idiot at a wedding reception (I can’t be the only one). According to neurologist Oliver Sacks, “Music imprints itself on the brain deeper than any other human experience.”
As amazing as music is for the human experience, science has shown us that there is a whole crazy list of things that music can do.
1. Lift Droopy Plants
I know it sounds crazy, but apparently it is true. Back in 1973 Dorothy Retallack wrote a book called The Sound of Music and Plants. In the book, she detailed how she took two identical groups of plants and played either rock or easy listening music for them. Under the same growing conditions, the group of plants that she played easy listening music for were fuller, greener, and even leaned toward the source of the music. The rock music group still grew as tall but were droopier, not as full, and also leaned away from the music. So if you have a droopy ficus tree, feed it a little Kenny G, according to Retallack, that should take care of it.
2. Raise Low Birth Weight
When babies are born prematurely, they usually require intensive care and long stays in the hospital to help them gain weight. A team of Canadian researchers found that playing music to premature babies helped them gain weight by reducing their pain levels and keeping them calm. By keeping the babies asleep longer, they expended less energy and, therefore, gained weight faster.
3. Repair Brain Damage
90,000 people a year suffer from brain damage that impairs speech or movement. Research is being done into how music stimulates and even repairs the parts of the brain that affect those functions. For instance, playing music with a defined rhythm has been shown to help people who are learning to walk again. Michael De Georgia, director of the Center for Music and Medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, says: “We are just starting to understand how powerful music can be. We don’t know what the limits are.”
4. Fix Your Heart
Research has shown that music can help patients that are recovering from a heart attack or heart surgery by reducing stress and lowering blood pressure. Music has also been shown to promote good circulation and expanded blood vessels, which are both great for cardiovascular health.
5. Promote Literacy
A study that was conducted in 2009 between a group of students who learned music and one that didn’t, showed that the students who learned music scored significantly higher on reading tests.
6. Sway Opinion
In a rather interesting study, a group of researchers found that certain types of music can “enhance” the way wine tastes by up to 60%. The research involved playing music while people were tasting wine, and they found that wine-drinkers rated white wine as 40% more refreshing when it was accompanied by “zingy and refreshing” music.