How Does Music Affect Our Brainwaves?
A visitor to the site asked me in an email, "How does
music affect our brainwaves?" Here is my answer, according
to what the research I have read on the subject.
First of all, it certainly depends on the type of music. Some
pieces actually directly effect our brainwaves, but I'll get
to that in a moment. More immediately, whether or not music affects
our brainwaves often has to do with whether it relaxes us. The
different types and pieces of music will be different in their
effects on each of us in this respect, because what we each find
relaxing can be different.
If you like jazz and it relaxes you, for example, you are
likely to slip into an alpha state of consciousness to some extent
while listening to it. That means your brainwaves will slow to
between 8 and 14 hertz, or cycles-per-second. This is the state
we first enter when meditating, or before falling asleep. It
can also be induced by simply closing the eyes and taking a few
The effect is not direct, then, but simply comes because when
we relax our brainwaves slow down. Since there is some evidence
that we are more creative when in an alpha state, you might want
to have relaxing music on when working on intellectual or other
problems, or when writing.
Then there are the musical compositions that more directly
affect our brainwaves. This discovery was the basis of brainwave
entrainment products for meditation. Some baroque music in particular
was found to "guide," "lead," or "entrain"
our brainwaves into a slower state. Examples include Prelude
From Cello Suite, Allemande (Cello Suite 3), and Be
Thou Near Me, all by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Obviously, then, if we desire that music affect our brainwaves
more directly, we should seek out the particular pieces that
are most effective. In the book Mind Power Meditation
there is a listing of other compositions known to have this effect.
If you haven't already done so, you can sign up on the homepage
to get a free copy.
Of course, since the effect was probably not intended by the
composers, it seems likely that it would be limited to certain
parts of a composition. That's why to really affect our brain
waves, and especially for the purpose of meditation, we use CDs
and MP3 recordings that are specifically designed to entrain
those electrical patterns in our heads. My favorite such product
is recommended below.
Ready For Brainwave Entrainment?
The Meditation Program
My favorite program of meditation recordings. -
- The rest of them (beta, alpha, theta and delta).
The Meditation Program
- What makes it a good program.