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Why Can’t We Just Listen to a Recording?

Over 90% of us listen to music on a daily basis. And listening to recorded music can definitely impact our emotions and our mental health. But do you know what is even more powerful? 

Live music. 

In a recent study published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers examined the brain activity of listeners when exposed to live versus recorded music. They found live music elicited significantly higher and more consistent amygdala activity. This activation also included a broader neural network for emotion processing. Furthermore, only live music had a strong and positive coupling between features of the musical performance and brain activity in listeners, meaning the listeners were entraining to the music in real-time.  

And this is why having a music therapist is so much more effective than just listening to recorded music. A music therapist can manipulate the musical elements to match or respond to changes in a client’s emotional state. This takes the musical experience to a new level, allowing the client to journey more efficiently into their processing! 

We’ve seen time and again how live music presented by a music therapist impacts our clients, and it is exciting to see the research continuing to dive deeper into the whys and hows of this process. 

Click here to read this research article in its entirety. 


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