Plenty of people have heard maxims about what music can do for your mind.
We all know about the emotional effects. Lifters can gain a few more pounds listening to death metal. Yogis can find a little more flow when listening to whatever yogis listen to.
When we're evaluating physical effects, though, it's more difficult to know for certain. Some parents play Beethoven for their unborn babies to stimulate brain growth. Are they kooks or do they know something naysayers don't?
Looking at a different life form might give us a better idea. If an inanimate object like a tree can grow stronger, surely we can as well, wouldn't you think?
You might say, "Well that's preposterous,"
From afar, no doubt it is. When you get a closer look, sound is a type of acoustic energy. That energy moves in the form of a pressure wave that can travel through all phase states. In response to that pressure, the molecules that make up gases, liquids, and solids vibrate.
Plants have a reaction to that vibration. Sparked by this finding, several botanists put theories to the test.
In otherwise identical growing environments, plants listening to music outgrow their compatriots. Seeds sprout sooner and produce more robust plants. Music playing farmers collect significantly more crops per acre than silent farmers.
If farmers started blasting Mozart, they could expect 60% more growth on fields. That is, if they follow the guidelines of researchers in India. This group found violin-heavy music drove the greatest increase in size.
That's all well and good, but how does that affect people? Studies in babies are few and far between because, well, they're babies. Fortunately, we have one example.
While still in the womb, babies respond to classical music excitedly. Other genres elicit less enthusiastic reactions.
Plants and babies are not the only things that respond to music. You do too. When you pick up your headphones, think about the theme of your tunes.
Sometimes, heavy death metal plays a role in a workout. Other times, it makes plants grow away from the speaker and die.
There's a time and place for all genres, but not all genres are made the same. If your music talks about everything negative under the sun, your brain might be responding the same way. The opposite is almost certainly true. Intentional listening goes a long way.