Neuroscience of Loving Music: fascinating 8-min podcast

Neuroscience of Loving Music: Refrains in the Brain

In this 8-minute BigThink podcast, “The Neuroscience of Loving Music”, Michael Spitzer, Professor of Music at Liverpool University, walks us through the neuroscience of loving music.

As I mentioned in an earlier post about music as medicine, I am studying for a Master’s degree in Neuromusic. If you like this kind of content, please subscribe to my blog. I will be posting about this regularly.

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The brain, muscular exertion, and sound

Spitzer begins by describing how the pulse of our steps rhythmically conditions humans. He says birdsong is as jerky as a bird’s movements as they fly through the air. Whalesong is as smooth as the whale’s movement through the water.

Humans walk on land, and the meters or rhythms that we are surrounded by have conditioned our brains, in musical terms. Music leads us on a “journey”, he says.

The neuroscience of loving music.

The neuroscience of loving music is based on the link between sound and motion. This is due to connections in the brain between the motor regions of the brain and the regions controlling hearing. The deeper into the brain you go says Spitzer, the more universal the connections are.

The brain stem responds to reflexes in sound, and percussive elements, for example. The basal ganglia respond to pleasure, so, the feeling of like or dislike that you get from listening to sounds or music. Emotions arise from the amygdala, while the neocortex processes patterns and complexities (think chords, harmony, etc).

Music is more than relaxation or entertainment

Music and social cohesion

Spitzer touches on one of my favorite topics: loneliness and the effect of loneliness on our mental health. On my other blog, Rose Tint Your Life, I posted about the results of a 20-year study on the importance of social relationships.

Interestingly, he says that listening to music is not relaxing in and of itself. In fact, listening to music is very active. I agree.

“Music can bring people together…Music lowers stress, makes you happy, helps us to recall memories, and helps us to express our deepest sentiments in a way that words cannot.”

Michael Spitzer, Professor of Music, Liverpool University

Meditation Music

Looped music is incredibly repetitive and actually brings about feelings of irritation. I have long been aware of this. In our weekly seminar last Thursday, some of my fellow Master’s students mentioned how frustrating it is to listen to looped meditation music. As musicians, we are always following the timbres, meters, and motifs of music.

As a yoga and meditation teacher, I have tried streaming services for background music. All have failed, mainly because of the short, looped segments. Hence, the project that I am currently working on, MindSet Beats. Stay tuned!

Mimesis – mirroring in the brain

The science of music emotion is a world unto itself. Emotion isn’t just feeling. Emotion has an adaptive role. When we listen to music, when the music moves us, we mirror the sentiments of the sound and also those of the composer. Joy, anger, sadness, and fear can all be experienced by listening to music. Here, multiplatinum records producer and Berklee Professor, Susan Rogers, talks about the intersection of music psychology, psychoacoustics, the producer/engineer’s perspective, and the audience’s.

Frisson – the chills

Music can make out hairs stand up on end. This is known as frisson. I can it “The Feels”. I love that he says that “music is violence without the danger”. All the feelings, no physical harm. As Bob Marley said in Trenchtown Rock “one good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain”.


Spitzer finishes the podcast “The Neuroscience of Loving Music” by saying that music is “an umbilical cord back to Mother Nature“. What a lovely thing to say! Happy Sunday, folks!

Music Medicine: An exciting modality 4 modern times!

Music Medicine

Music Medicine

More and more investigation is underway to determine just how important a role sound and music may play in future models of health care and disease management. It’s a very exciting time for this branch of holistic therapeutics! This is why I have decided to study Neuromusic. I started my Master’s on Friday!

The expanding scope of music in healthcare was the topic of a recent issue of MDPI (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute journal “Healthcare”. The Special Edition Editor was Dr. Lee Bartel, a professor at the University of Toronto. After reading two articles, I found the TED talk that appears above.

Music medicine vs. Music therapy

Music medicine and music therapy are not the same things, but they are closely related. Music medicine can use sound vibrations that are not necessarily musical. Music therapy can also use toning and vibration, but it’s certainly more about musicality and the psychological attachments that a patient may have toward certain styles or pieces of music.-

Healing yourself with sound certainly appeals. Sound is all around us, all the time. Those who live or work in cities may be bombarded by noise, often to their detriment. Traffic noise slows children’s memory development, a 2022 study found.


Neuromusic is about sound and music as healing modalities. I have only just started my studies, but already I can tell that my long years of self-directed study will pay off. The first module talks about frequencies and harmonics, signals, and all those good things that music producers love to delve into.

My hopes for the course

I hope to use the course to finish and commercialize the project I have been working on for the past year. I earn my living as a Yoga teacher, bodyworker, and MindSet coach. I am currently working very hard on some special guided meditations that are based on cutting-edge knowledge about how different frequencies affect the mind and body. I am particularly interested in the use of music medicine and psychedelics. So, let’s see how that all goes. Exciting times!

Superior Singing Method – Super 8-week singing course!

Would you like to sing better?

The voice has been one of my main tools for going on twenty years now. Since I found the Superior Singing Method, I am finally using specific tools to make my voice more stable, more robust and more reliable.

I always loved to sing. But, I was shy, and very soft-spoken. When I was about 23 years old, I had a major realisation: Whenever I tried to make my voice more emphatic, I ended up sounding angry. Also, if I was stressed, I would notice a whirring or ringing in my ears.

This is major, people! In order to move in this world, you have to make yourself heard and also listen to others.

A little music a lot of the time

My steps into music have been small but steady. Although I picked up the bass and played in an Ottawa band called PLANK, I knew that I didn’t want to be a professional musician (even if I had the talent snort!) Having watched a few friends “make it”, I saw the entertainment business as a stressful, uncertain place where drug and alcohol misuse was rife and from which artists could be spit out, broke and broken, at any time. No, I knew myself even then that I do NOT have the character for that sort of thing. I am way too sensitive. I used my brains, studied at Uni, kept my nose to the grindstone…but still managed a massive social life and huge enjoyment of music.

When I was in London, I got into electronic music, specifically hard house and late-90’s trance. I helped out on two promotions (Trinity at the Chunnel Club and Fahrenhite at The Soundshaft behind Heaven) doing the VIP list, taking people’s cash, helping the dj’s get into a packed club at 4AM…it was super fun, I didn’t sleep a Saturday night in over a year.

Singing and strumming

When I decided to stop all that nonsense, (haha), I bought an acoustic guitar and started doing open mics. My first forays into recording were weird, to say the least. Hearing your own voice recorded is extremely strange and basically incredibly HUMBLING. You realise that you don’t sound that good at all. OOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH SHIT. How I wish that I had found the Superior Singing Method back then!

When I was in NYC in about 2001, I got this tattoo on my finger. Like that string you tie around your finger to remind you of something? This was to remind me to heal my voice.

Well, I kept bumbling along. During my yoga teacher training, I studied and practised mantra. I sought a singing teacher. But, it’s hard to find a singing teacher when you’re no longer in a place like London where modern music is celebrated.

Finally, I found the Superior Singing Method. From the first week I started to see improvements. This course is amazing. It is not expensive, you can do it from home at a convenient time and the teacher, Aaron Anastasi, is a great motivator. (He is also a life coach).

Invest in your voice, invest in yourself

A calm, beautiful, stable voice is a gift to yourself and to others. Here is my speaking voice. I also do some voiceover work 😉