• Maisie Loh

The Connection Between Music And Memory



We often think that memory is a part of our intellect and how often we exercise this intellect improves our memory. However, memory is formed by other factors and not just how often or how much we exercise our brains. There is a connection between music and memory. There are also connections to how our memories are formed by stress, food, and hormones. All of these contribute to how our memory is formed.


As a student, you may find it contradictory that no matter how hard you try to memorize a math formula or academic subject, you just can’t do it. That’s because the intention isn’t there and so the attention is weak. Memory is very much influenced by attention. When we repeat a task and place enough attention on it, the information we input into our brain is transformed into electrical impulses that travel between the brain’s neurons via synapses.


Why We Lose Our Memory

Often, when we find our mind unable to remember things, it is caused by stress. When we feel stressed, we have difficulty creating short-term memories and turning them into long-term memory. Therefore, it is more difficult to remember or to learn when there is stress. Which explains why students cramming for school exams, fighting against time to memorize exam answers cannot remember no matter how hard they try. Stress also causes us difficulty in remembering the details of an event later as it colors our perception.


Music Induces Relaxation

Music, in particular, classical music has a relaxing effect on our minds and bodies. Slow and quiet music can have beneficial effects on our physiological functions. It also slows down the pulse and heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and decreases stress hormones.


By reducing stress, music has the effect of relaxation and in turn, helps us improve our memory.



Music Evokes Memory Recall

The documentary film ‘Alive Inside’ showed the journey of a social worker who compiled the favorite songs of residents in dementia homes. He asked each resident’s family to list songs or instrumental pieces each person once enjoyed. He then creates an individual playlist for each resident and plays the music for them.


The experiment showed the astounding effect music has on the patients’ mood, behavior, and quality of life, as they lose their connection to themselves and to the world. Some residents who were unable to speak proceeded to sing and dance to the music. It had opened the vaults to their memory.


Learning Music Exercises Improves Memory

The connection between music and memory has been explored by researchers, who showed that performing music reactivates areas of the brain associated with memory, reasoning, speech, emotion, and reward.


Studies in the United States and Japan have shown healthy elderly people scoring better on memory scores after completing weekly classes in which they did a moderate physical exercise to musical accompaniment.


If you would like to get some relaxation while improving your memory, join us at Ritmo Music Studio in Singapore for rock and pop music lessons.


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