Music and the Brain


Indigo Stern

What is it about music that pulls people in, that moves them, that makes them play the same album on repeat for hours? Everyone has had that one song that they just can’t get out of their head. Maybe it’s too catchy or they really resonate with it or maybe it has to do with something people aren’t even consciously aware of.

When people listen to music, their brain releases dopamine, also known as the ‘happy chemical’. Dopamine is the brain’s reward system and it is released when the brain recognizes patterns. And what is music? A whole bunch of patterns thrown together into one.

“Doja Cat’s ‘Planet Her’ album definitely earned all the hype it got,” Jennifer Jackson said, a sophomore at LHS. “I think it should be album of the year. The music and beat are just… perfection.” That perfection is the sweet-spot in music when the artist finds the perfect combination of patterns to make their song euphonious or pleasing to the ear.

But it’s not just happiness involved when you listen to music, it’s much more complex than that. “I love listening to ‘New Normal’ by Khalid because it covers so many different feelings,” Lilyana Peterson said, a freshman at LHS. The most popular tracks ever produced usually bring up a plethora of emotions which is what makes them so successful.

The type of music someone listens to can tell you a lot about that person because what people listen to often reflects their thoughts and feelings. “If I could pick one album from this year it would be ‘If I Could Make it go Quiet’ by Girl in Red because I can really connect to it,” Amelia Kessinger said, a junior at LHS. Being able to relate to songs and their lyrics only makes a song that much better and that much harder to get out of your head.