When you feel good, can focus easily and find learning and memorising easy, you are most probably experiencing a dopamine hit. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, that is, it has a role in controlling communication in your brain. It can tell a neuron whether to fire off a signal or not. Humans have a much higher level of dopamine in the brain compared with other primates, meaning we are much smarter, able to plan ahead, and resist impulses when we have to. Dopamine is a key ingredient in what makes us human! Music has been proven in studies to assist with ‘dopaminergic neurotransmission’ – meaning it can cause giant dopamine releases in your brain. Exposure to music also increases blood which may cause a reduction in blood pressure and increased blood flow to the brain. Harmonious sounds can affect you in a positive way. A 1993 study showed that students that listened to Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major improved their scores on a spatial-reasoning test (performing 3D manipulations on mental images), while those who sat in silence, or listened to New Age music, showed no improvement. The so-called ‘Mozart Effect’ has spurned many informal studies suggesting that plants grow better when exposed to continuous loops of Mozart’s music, dairy cows produce more milk (dubbed the Moozart Effect!) and that hospital patient recovery rates and staff happiness improve when they listen to Mozart and other classical music. Very recent studies have confirmed there is a measurable, though short-lived effect, and analysis shows that it is something to do with the way Mozart (and Bach) periodically repeat cycles of notes, and reverse the same notes within the cycles, that the brain seems to respond positively to. Fascinating! What we know, then, is that playing harmonious sounds, particularly classical music, and specifically Mozart or Bach, can be most beneficial for your brain and your ability to think, focus, learn and be uniquely human. For a long-term brain boost, however, learning how to play an instrument is the way to go. Its the ‘learning’ and the ‘new’ that are important, in other words, if you can already play the piano, great…but learning to play the guitar will bring you more benefits! How can you boost your dopamine hits through music? Maybe start by listening in the background while you continue answering your emails….here it is  <Mozart K448> Enjoy!