Music styles vary as much as human personalities, and understanding how they interact just may change your life, according to the book Your Playlist Can Change Your Life.
Co-authored by two researchers and a writer, Your Playlist show the connection between music and the brain, and how each person must find the right combination to improve their lives.
Don DuRousseau, executive director for the Peak Neurotraining Solutions Inc. in Sterling, has spent years studying music’s impact on people. His career includes work for the Department of Homeland Security, and as example of the negative impact music can have, he said that the theme song from Barney was blasted on detainees at Guantanamo Bay to deprive them of sleep.
“Music rhythm and tone and resonance and dissonance have certain affects on the network in the brain,” he explained.
But he also said that much of that work initially centered on the opposite intent of Barney on people from other parts of the world—or Americans who’ve heard the theme more than twice for that matter.
“The question at Homeland Security is, is there something they can use that’s not medicine and not alcohol to help them sleep?” he said, explaining the personnel were constantly traveling and suffering insomnia, jet leg and poor sleeping conditions. “That was the motivator.”
And, DuRousseau said, what they found was that music has a significant impact on people, depending on the music and its particular meaning, if any, to the individual.
“Music affects our mind. It’s based on neuroscience. It’s all about the brain,” he said, adding that the rhythm created by our pulse “sets us up for that process, and the effect that music has on us. It can change our cognitive style. From the book’s perspective, that’s a good thing because it’s for our betterment.”
One thing the book aims to do is help readers find two melodies: one that calms, and one that serves a more motivational function. Those melodies vary form person to person.
“Music that is calming to me may not be calming to you at all,” he said.
Besides finding those melodies, creating longer playlists that work for the individual involves a process. Among the first steps is to take notes about how different music makes the subject feel. Your Playlist serves as a resource to help people find the right music.
“Our goal was to help people find any kind of music,” DuRousseau said.
Putting together the right list can impact one’s ability to function at the highest level, DuRousseau said.
“Using brain music has a major impact on performance, your ability to do your job,” he said, sneaking in the book’s title to emphasize the point. “Your playlist can change your life.”
Psychiatrist Galina Mindlin and author Joseph Cardillo co-authored the book.