Music is so integrated into modern life that most of us take it for granted. Everywhere you turn, however, you can hear music playing. Whether you are watching TV, shopping for groceries, waiting for a doctor’s appointment, or riding in an elevator, there is almost always music playing in the background.

What is it about music that draws people to it? Why is it such an important part of life?

In order to answer those questions, you need to learn a little bit more about how music affects the brain. When you listen to music, your brain releases a neurotransmitter known as dopamine. This special neurotransmitter helps create feelings of pleasure and happiness. That is why listening to music can instantly put you in a good mood.

Music affects the brain in other ways, as well. For instance, researchers have found that learning to play a musical instrument can increase a person’s IQ. Interestingly, by studying scans of the brain, they found that certain areas of the brain actually undergo physical changes when people learn how to play an instrument or learn how to sing.

Scientists are still studying the effects of music on the brain, trying to learn more about the impact that it has on both the body and the mind. It is easy for anyone to see, however, that music does have a distinct an obvious impact on the way that people think and feel.

Think about the last time that you were feeling down or depressed. Chances are, if you put on a song that you love, your mood would instantly be lifted. Similarly, people sometimes listen to music when they study because it makes it easier for them to concentrate. Based on this anecdotal evidence, it doesn’t take a scientist to realize that music can have a significant impact on your thoughts, feelings, and mood.