Published on Jul 20, 2018
Authored by Pfizer Medical Team
Isn’t it interesting how hearing a particular song can bring back a special memory or make you feel happy or calm or pumped up? People are born with the ability to tell the difference between music and noise. Our brains actually have different pathways for processing different parts of music including pitch, melody, rhythm, and tempo. And, fast music can actually increase your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure, while slower music tends to have the opposite effect.
While the effects of music on people are not fully understood, studies have shown that when you hear music to your liking, the brain actually releases a chemical called dopamine that has positive effects on mood. Music can make us feel strong emotions, such as joy, sadness, or fear—some will agree that it has the power to move us. According to some researchers, music may even have the power to improve our health and well-being.
Though more studies are needed to confirm the potential health benefits of music, some studies suggest that listening to music can have the following positive effects on health.
Music is a source of great interest for Dominick Albano, a pharmacist and Vice President of Global Medical Information, Pfizer. “I’ve played guitar for 35 years,” says Dominick. “It’s always been my personal way of expressing my creativity. I use music as a source of balance, to relieve stress, and as a source of enjoyment in my life.”
Dominick took guitar lessons when he was in high school, but gradually stopped. However, during his first 2 months in pharmacy school, Dominick realised that he needed something to offset the heavily science-based education. “I started taking guitar lessons again because I needed a sense of balance in my life. I wanted to immerse myself in the science that I would need for my career while still nurturing my creative side.”
Today, Dominick credits music with helping him maintain his overall well-being. “Being healthy doesn’t just mean you don’t have an illness or medical condition. It’s much more than that. People need a sense of well-being too. That’s where music, and the arts, can fit in—it does for me, at least.”
In terms of music’s positive impact on his job, Dominick says, “I believe that flexing my creative muscles through music helps me to think differently and to be a better problem solver.” Dominick recommends expanding your musical horizons by listening to or playing music that’s different from what you’re used to.
Dominick also looks at music as a healthy option that people may use to help manage stress or anxiety. “You don’t have to play a musical instrument to get the health benefits of music, though you can.” He recommends turning off the TV (which can sometimes provoke stress) and having enjoyable or relaxing music on in the background during your regular activities, such as cooking or exercising.
Last reviewed: 06/11/2019
-Australian Music Therapy Association
-Music Therapy New Zealand