Why music is good for the brain: Pianist Adrian Lord discusses the science behind it


By Ellie Palmer

27 May 2021

The pianist pursued his interest in the effects that music can have on the brain following the completion of his most recent work, ‘Piano Meditations’: an extended playlist of five slow tempo piano pieces. As part of his journey, he interviewed Dr Andrew Budson, Lecturer in Neurology at Harvard Medical School, to discuss the science behind why music is good for the brain

You can stream 'Piano Meditations' below

 

 

Adrian Lord: “With these new pieces, I really wanted to create something that was calm and soothing to listen to. I hope I can give people music that will help them relax and alleviate some of the stress of current life. We all know how enjoyable it is to listen to music, but I was curious to know more about what exactly it is that makes listening to music such a therapeutic experience.

During my interview with Dr Budson [Lecturer in Neurology at Harvard Medical School], we discussed how music utilises all sorts of different pathways and areas of the brain, and how, when you use the pathways to fire up all these areas, the better they will function. I learned from Dr Budson that listening to music is one of only two activities that can give the brain a full workout; the other activity being socialising. With the restrictions of lockdown upon us all, I urge everyone to bring music into their daily life, to feel the benefit in their wellbeing.”

 

Dr Andrew Budson: “I think we know just intuitively that music has the power to activate all the different regions of your brain, because when we listen to a certain piece of music it triggers our emotions – for instance, when listening to the piece 'Snowfall' [from Adrian's album], it makes me feel happy and it’s activating those emotional pathways and triggering emotional thoughts and happy memories. All these different regions are switching on in my brain.

And then I listen to 'Space', and it’s like mind-expanding piece. It was very interesting; it made me think totally different thoughts, it was very introspective, and what I could feel was it was generating other regions in the brain.

Music has the power to take us through all of these feelings, almost like having different experiences but without even leaving our home, or our chair even."

 

During the first lockdown, Adrian Lord gave a series of live performances on Facebook that attracted regular viewers. He has recently started doing these again. The virtual performances are free to attend and last around 20 minutes.

His EP, 'Piano Meditations’, is made up of five pieces: Snowfall, Evermore, Space, Waves and Ascend, and is available to listen to on all major streaming platforms. The pieces have also been transcribed into a sheet music book. This is Adrian’s third collection of piano music to be published, preceded by 'Sky Blue Piano' and 'Journey – Twelve Romances for Piano'.

 

 

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