Speech: Music and the relationship between brain waves and health CC6- Vocal variety

We are delighted  to share a a speech by Kunle in the Toastmasters meeting meeting 209 – Finding your voice.

Speech Date 30 July 2013


We live in a busy environment. Moreover, with so many tasks to do along with the demands and pressures of life can result in stress where ongoing stress can be deleterious towards our health.

How Sound affects your brain?

Brain waves pattern

Figure 1.0 Four categories of brain wave patterns

There are 4 basic brain-wave oscillation patterns. They are delta, theta, alpha, and beta and can be monitored with an electroencephalogram or EEG. Furthermore, there are some rules of thumb though, admits Dr Williamson. ‘For a general rule, if you want to relax you should choose songs with slower tempo, less key changes and more predictable structure.’ That is, if you can change the brainwave frequency your mental state changes.

At high beta frequencies we are in mental states associated with anxiety, unease, and stress. At still higher frequencies, it becomes difficult to think and focus clearly and we are likely to make bad decisions. Furthermore, the reason why brain waves are important is because the delta/beta cycle causes an elevation in blood sugar levels and blood pressure throughout the day. Chronically high blood sugar levels can cause hyperglycemia, metabolic syndrome, weight gain, and eventually diabetes. Without retreat to the alpha and theta waves, concentration, relaxation, and overall health are compromised.

When lower frequencies dominate, both sides of the brain start to work in sync and communicate better with each other. The neurons and the brain cells begin to operate harmoniously in a coordinated manner. When this happens, we feel a sense of calm; the situation appears more manageable and we begin to regain control. So, we need to slow down the brainwaves, to relax.

‘If we’re feeling anxious or stressed, we can encourage our cerebral cortex to produce slow alpha-frequency brain waves, while on the other end of the scale, if we help our cortex to produce faster beta waves, we will be better equipped to concentrate and focus our attention on a fairly lengthy task

In conclusion, by helping the brain cortex to generate specific brain waves, we can induce different states of alertness, depending on what we aim to do.

How music affects physiological functions

Studies in regards to music relaxation in terms of reducing stress have been well established. Music can ultimately affect physiological functions such as heart rate.

Furthermore, music relaxing/soothing music has been shown to decrease the hormone cortisol which increases during stress and increases the release of endomorphism, the body’s feel good hormones.

Researchers at McGill University in Montreal showed that listening to pleasurable music of any description induced ‘musical chills’, which triggered the release of the feel-good chemical dopamine which is linked with feelings of pleasure.


How to incorporate Music Therapy

Incorporate a time of solitude 10 -15 minutes every day.

Take portable music with you when walking the dog, or put the stereo on instead of the TV. Calming music before bedtime promotes peace and relaxation and helps to induce sleep.

In a social context

Singing (or shouting) along can also be a great release of tension, and karaoke is very enjoyable for some extroverts!


The fact is music is around everywhere and can be an efficient way of improving sleep, reduction of stress and enhancing emotional mental health and well-being.

Credit: Speaker Kunle Adegbola




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