Many cultural traditions use music to create altered states of mind and awareness. Scientific studies have clarified that music influences and affects the cranial nerves in humans, and it also has been proposed that music facilitates neurogenesis, the process by which new neurons are formed in the brain. Drumming and chanting can promote relaxation and states of calm and mental clarity.
We perform music from many cultural traditions in order to help people focus the mind, explore their inner self and transcend their physical reality. This is possible due to the structure of the brain and how music is strongly linked to our survival and language. When sound reaches our auditory cortex, it impacts directly on the older part of the brain, the amygdala and the mammalian brain, directly influencing the autonomic nervous system, our breathing, our heart rate and our emotions. With this knowledge, we can use music to shift states when we need to.
The correct music applied at the right time can alleviate depression, high blood pressure and stress. The right music can release emotion that cannot find expression, therefore holding us back from a wholesome and fulfilled life. Certain hospitals around the world now use music therapy on cancer patients. They have found that when cancer patients sing and play instruments together, their immune function improves.