Music therapy can help people who have severe brain damage regain control of their brain and heal faster. This is really nifty!
But how does music find a pathway inside a damaged brain that regular speech can’t negotiate? According to Morrow, it has to do with the parts of the brain where music comes from. And that there are so many of them.
“Music centres are all over the brain,” says Morrow. “I might be able to retrieve lyrics from the right side, from the middle, from the back of the brain. There are so many components to music that I can tap into … to reach words again and to reformulate them in the brain.”
In terms of human evolution, speech is a relatively recent addition to our compartmentalized brains. Some believe music may precede it. There’s no doubt that toddlers babble and vocalize long before they speak.
“It used to be thought that music was a superfluous thing, and no one understood why it developed from an evolutionary standpoint,” says Michael De Georgia, director of the Centre for Music and Medicine at Case Western Reserve University’s Medical Centre in Cleveland.
“In the last 10 years, we’ve just started to understand how broad and diffuse the effect of music is on all parts of the brain,” he added. “We are just starting to understand how powerful music can be.”