Following up on my recent blog entry on music and mindfulness, I stumbled across an article on Science Blogs about how music affects our brains. I didn’t read the journal article this article summarizes article before I posted my entry or before my latest DBT-U music and mindfulness practice, though I wish I would have.
The article stated more clearly than I could have why I find music such a good focus for mindfulness and why I find familiar songs to be extremely effective foci for my practices. Essentially, my brain is fooled into expecting patterns in the music and when it doesn’t get what it expects, it wakes up and takes notice.
Music only excites us when it makes our auditory cortex struggle to uncover its order. If the music is too obvious, if its patterns are always present, it is annoyingly boring.
This matches up nicely with my recommendation that the piece of music be complex enough to be interesting. And probably why I don’t really like pop music much.