Music has been called "the language of the heart", forever it seems.
We talk about how music surpasses our brains and takes us straight into the realm of emotions and feelings.
Music can make us cry or make us want to dance. It can deafen silence and awaken forgotten parts of our souls.
All range of emotions can be and usually are experienced, through music. Joy, sadness, anger, awe, etc.
So, with all this connection to our emotions that we experience through music, what happens when we play music, and does the effect of music on our emotions help us be more compassionate towards others?
Compassion is basically defined as an emotional response to someone else's suffering and/or misfortune, combined with the desire to relieve the suffering for that individual or group.
Is compassion an emotion? Partly, but it's also a physiological activity that involves the "mirror neurons" in our brains.
Studies have shown that studying music increased empathy - compassion, in 11 year olds over a 9 month period of time. Studies have also shown that those with musical training had a greater emotional response in the mirror neuron sections of the brain to music, than those that did not have musical training. And finally, more studies have shown that the higher the mirror neuron activity in musicians, the higher the level of empathy they exhibited. (source)
Playing the Piano, or any other instrument, requires one to function at an intellectual level when it comes to technique, but the musical expression must come from the player's emotions and heart realm.
The more a person practices and progresses on the piano, essentially the same is happening with that person's emotional capacities and ability to feel for another person. Our brains are highly involved in this process through our mirror neurons and they grow in number along with the empathetic abilities.
Empathy is also stimulated and increased by playing in group settings. Musicians have to learn how to listen and respond to one or several other people on many different levels during a performance or rehearsal.
One of the greatest benefits that come to all musicians, is increased compassion and the ability to feel and act on a greater sense of empathy, to our fellow humans.
Greater empathy results in greater joy, and not just for the one on the receiving end of compassion.
So as you grow in your piano studies, watch how your heart and emotions start becoming more and more involved and alive in your playing and in your life. Notice how you are able to respond from your heart more, to the challenges and pain of others.
Are you feeling the joy yet?
Stay tuned to LessonsOnTheWeb to learn much more!
Most blogs written by