How Music Enhances Learning Capacity

Music increases frontal EEG coherence during verbal learning from Neuroscience Letters explains how we can use music for learning. Let’s examine how we can apply this information for our personal use.

David A. Peterson and Michael H. Thaut provide us with a five page clinical study on how test subjects learned a list of words better while putting them to music. According to this study, music induces learning-related changes in coherence (LRCC). Small wonder how we recall the lyrics from our favorite music so easily…

Coincidently, these researchers applied electroencephalographs (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imagining (fMRI) to their test subjects. The Music Group had greater coherence within their theta, alpha, and gamma brainwaves. “Coherence” in this case means greater consistency in the frontal lobes of the brain.

As you might now, our “ego” and “identity” are more closely related to the functions of our front lobes. The frontal lobe functions helps us personally identify with external stimuli, but all is not about the brain; there’s the rest of the body.

Psychoneurophysiology Approach to Human Achievement

You probably know that I’m going to talk about brainwave entrainment, but let me lead into that with further extracts from the aforementioned study.

The neuroscientists hypothesized a bit on why music helps in the learning process; it seems they’re not exactly sure why music helps us to learn, but they are sure of one thing:

“In an important step toward elucidating music’s influence on cognitive functions in the brain, the present study supports the idea that the synchronous activity of multiple cortical areas may play a role in defining functional cell assemblies involved in music-facilitated verbal learning…”

Yes, synchronous activity suggests entrainment, but it also suggests that the music is already there – inside of us. Afterall, where does the music originate? It comes comes from nature, obviously, but guess who’s part of nature? You and me. Music comes from us

In The Music of Time, Preston Nichols explains that when sound stimulus enters the body, it gets carried on a “synch pulse” or floating reference frame to “create a pulse position with regard to the human bio-energy field…”

“Pulse position is actually how your nervous system works. There is a synch pulse that represents the normal human state. When other pulses enter the system, they represent different phenomena including human reactions…”

Thus, the data from Peterson and Thaut are corroborated: We have an internal “metronome” that can match or create any beat, but what does this mean?

In How Music Feeds Our Social Mood, I explained how our favorite mainstream entertainment affects our behavior, the way we react to our environment. We can adjust our behavior through music, both mentally and physically. Please have a look at the following from the NY Times how we can be physically changed through music:

Does Music Make You Exercise Harder?

“In a recent study, researchers asked 12 college students to ride stationary bicycles while listening to music. They were given a selection of six songs with a range of tempos.

During one session, the six songs ran at their normal tempos. In other sessions, the tempo was slowed by 10 percent or increased by 10 percent. Their activity changed significantly in response.

When the tempo was slowed, their pedaling diminished in rate, their heart rates fell, and their mileage dropped. When the tempo was increased, they produced more power with each pedal stroke and increased their pedaling rate, and their heart rates rose.

The New York Times reports:

“The interplay of exercise and music is fascinating and not fully understood, perhaps in part because, as a science, it edges into multiple disciplines, from physiology to biomechanics to neurology.

No one doubts that people respond to music during exercise … Just how music impacts the body during exercise, however, is only slowly being teased out by scientists.”

A good question would be, “OK, what if we combine brainwave entrainment with that music? How much more can we achieve?” I can present you with more studies – which I’ve done in the past – or we can go straight to the self help tools and see which of them compare to the tools in the above studies. Which do you prefer?

Music/Brainwave Entrainment Comparison

Normally, I would go straight to the classics like the works of Dr. Jeffrey Thompson. His work in pairing classical music to brainwave entrainment is unmatched. I aspire to be at his level. The difference is Dr. Thompson’s work is geared towards relaxation and meditation.

What we want is a music / brainwave entrainment match that induces changes in learning coherence. According to Music increases frontal EEG coherence during verbal learning, learning-related changes in coherence (LRCC) wherein memory is best served occurs with theta, gamma, and alpha patterns at their most coherent.

By the same token, this means we want a music / brainwave entrainment match which uses these patterns. More importantly, that music has to resonate with us. We have to like the beat and melody. We want to be able to tap our toes to that music.

On the other hand, in a learning situation, we want to be focused upon our work, not the music. Therefore, the music / brainwave entrainment match has to serve a dual purpose of resonating with our mind patterns and the flow of our work.

Even more interesting is the 2010 study, “Endogenous control of waking brain rhythms induces neuroplasticity in humans,*” which promotes beta rhythms for mental acuity. Let’s think about this.

In the Music increases frontal EEG coherence during verbal learning study, there was no brainwave entrainment, only words set to a musical rhythm that induced coherent patterns of theta and gamma waves.

Therefore, external theta and gamma wave entrainment stimuli isn’t necessary in a learning situation. We’re generating our own harmonics because, as we found, we have our own internal “metronomes.” In fact, we already know that theta rhythms with gamma bursts represents an intense meditative state or euphoria in the work, Oceanscape GhostShip, Altered States.

Therefore, if these two studies are going to corroborate each other in a learning situation, we have to go with beta or high alpha rhythms and the equivalent music. In the Goldsmiths, University of London Study, beta and high alpha rhythms were discovered to increase attention, creative focus, and mental acuity.

Evoked Cortical Response

A fine line exists between our internal “pulse positions” and the “pulse positions” that enter our systems. Therefore, when we mix (upbeat) music we like with beta rhythms, we can find ourselves in a focused, euphoric state.

Our brainwave rhythms don’t fight each other for coherence. AS we see in that Neuroscience Letters Study, we can have coherence of all kinds of brainwave rhythms. Let’s face it: We’re very complex beings who can experience all kinds of feelings at once, all wrapped up in one meatsack.

Look at that. I’m even poking fun at my self by calling us “meatsacks.” We need to be complex to have a sense of humor.

This is exactly why I created “The Big Picture,” upbeat, new age rhythms played in sync with a storm modulated upon beta and high alpha rhythms. I did it because we’re complex beings. Our internal “metronomes” know exactly what to do with this music in a learning situation; it turns out that our evoked cortical response includes several types of stimuli at once like a parallel processor and our behavior changes accordingly.

Yes, The Big Picture is a bit Sesame Street with the spiritual motivation script. I consider it the “cherry” on top since there’s a feeling of euphoria that comes with the music. What’s important is that we don’t have to focus on the music or the script: We just let it come to us as we study and let it do it’s work.

More importantly, The Big Picture plays at a consistent 98.6 beats per minute; this allows our minds to latch onto the beats more easily. Run of the mill pop music beats are all over the place, therefore, we can’t really use pop music in a learning situation.

A steady 98.6 BPM over the course of at least 20 minutes allows us to match work flow with music; this is exactly what The Big Picture provides.

Comparing Learning Tools

Very few researchers who have come close to the technology provided by The Big Picture for concentration, focus, and mental acuity in a learning situation.

One that has come close is Immrama (Gaelic for “Inner Journey”). Their brainwave entrainment products are closer to pop music, but utilizes entrainment in the same fashion as Dr. Jeffrey Thompson and most others: Music with an entrainment tone in the background.

Because Immrama’s Program takes the form of pop music, it’s geared more towards a younger mindset like high school and college students. Besides Dr. Thompson’s Work, I also used Immrama for inspiration to produce The Big Picture.

Instead of a background tone, The Big Picture uses a city storm scape modulated upon entrainment rhythms as the background. To me, that’s like the extra “atmosphere” equivalent to a five store michelan restaurant – attached to a beatnik hole in the wall from the 1950’s.

If I was to compare Immrama to The Big Picture, I would say they both do the same job of “feeding” us and making us feel good except that one of them is an outside restaurant during the rain in the middle of a busy city with street musicians as entertainment. Guess which one that is…

If you’ve ever listened to Hearts of Space, I believe they refer to their theme as “slow music for fast times” or “space music.” If anyone belongs in the Hearts of Space Category, it’s the Unexplainable Store. You’ve probably read some of the works of the proprietor, Jim McElwee. I consider him as the “Rudolph Steiner” of brainwave entrainment, but their music is really out there, like space music.

Unexplainable Store has just about every kind of brainwave entrainment under the sun for every purpose. It’s possible they’re using the Neuroprogrammer to be so prolific with their products, but I’m not sure. I’ll cover the Neuroprogrammer in a moment.

The program that I find closest to a learning situation is their IQ Isochronic. Here’s a description:

By studying how the brain absorbs information, and the proper frequencies to make it operate at maximum efficiency, we have found a way to improve this process so you can absorb, store, and categorize information better than you thought previously possible. We start off in the Beta range to focus your brain’s learning process and then stimulate connections between neurons to improve your IQ permanently. By focusing on your intelligence, it feels perfectly natural and requires little effort on the part of the user: IQ Isochronic.

If I was to compare Unexplainable’s IQ Isochronic to The Big Picture, I would have to say there’s not much to compare. They both get the same job done. Unexplainable’s is more like Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe; it’s strange, but we learn to accept it because the “food” is good, but it doesn’t talk you into eating it. The Big Picture

On the other hand, the “food” is your spiritual leader at The Big Picture, so you feel good about eating it.

How to Create Your Own Brainwave Entrainments for Concentration, Focus, and Mental Acuity

the Neuroprogrammer allows you to modulate your own music upon preset entrainment patterns and record them mp3 or CD for use away from your computer. The “subliminals” area allows you to insert any type of size sound file you want like affirmations, NLP, or whatever you need to learn which plays back at whatever interval you desire.

You can record in your own voice or let the program read from a script (in a computer voice) whatever you desire in the “subliminals” area. Customizing your own recordings presents the perfect opportunity for you to create your own learning programs. As I mentioned, all the preset entrainment patterns are there; it’s all done by neuroscience experts in the field.

On top of that, your Neuroprogrammer License allows you to sell your own programs to whomever you want on mp3, CD, or whatever. If you’re a student (especially of neuroscience), this makes for an excellent side business to support your education. A lot of people have already gone professionial using the Neuroprogrammer. Think about it.

That’s all I have to present for the moment on music for learning. Next time, we’ll discuss how to apply associative remote viewing, how we all pick up on little psychic “tips” throughout the day which we usually disregard, and how these are related to the ARVARI Training Course.

Thanks for your time.

Healing Thoughts,

*”Endogenous control of waking brain rhythms induces neuroplasticity in humans,” “Significant changes in brain plasticity observed following alpha brainwave training;” Ros T, Munneke MA, Ruge D, Gruzelier JH, Rothwell JC; Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London

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