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Effects of rock music on the mind

Staff Writer
The problems that musicians and their promoters and sponsors face across the globe are similar, prompting researchers to dig deeper in a bid to establish some of the reasons that are at the heart of this state of affairs.

Such problems include fights among members of various musical groups, splits and endless administrative problems, like what is happening at the Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU). A publication recently distributed to some residents of Block 9 in Gaborone West by members of the Seventh Day Adventists (SDA) entitled Health of Nation throws some light on the possible causes of some of the problems buffeting musicians and the influence of rock music on the individual.

It says few people understand the powerful influence that music has on the frontal lobe. Depending on the type of music, it can either influence the brain beneficially or detrimentally. Music therapists say that certain types of music, such as rock with its syncopated rhythm, bypasses the frontal lobe and thus escape "our ability to reason" and make judgments about the genre. Evidence suggests that like television, rock music can produce hypnotic effect. For many years, some have argued that rock was running the minds of young people, the publication adds. It says that (to provide some empirical evidence) neurologists and a physicist recently teamed up to put this claim to a test through three groups of mice. One group listened to no music, another to Mozart, and a third to rock music. But first they ran the mice through a maze to establish a base time of 10 minutes. Then they separated the mice in their distinctive groups. After one month, the mice that listened to no musical at all reduced the time taken to navigate the maze by half (five minutes). The mice that listened to Mozart did even better. They navigated the maze in only one-and-a-half minutes. The rock music mice "bumped their way through the maze" taking 30 minutes. Eventually, the experiment came to a halt due to the rock music mice eating one another. To determine why the rock music mice were having so much trouble, the researchers examined their brains. Sure enough,

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they found abnormal branching and sprouting of the nerve cells and disruptions in the normal amounts of messenger RNA, a chemical crucial to memory storage. This could help explain why rock music listeners are more prone to use drugs and engage in extramarital sex, and why heavy metal listeners are much more likely to consider suicide. On the other hand, it has been demonstrated that classical music helps college students learn spatial relationships in geometry. The document asserts in conclusion that: "If you listen to the wrong kind of music, you will become the wrong kind of person. Yet there is the wholesale Christian music that helps to ennoble the mind".

Keen followers of the world of music, particularly rock music, still remember the history of the Beatles, one of Britain's most popular groups and how band leader, John Lennon, after misunderstandings - broke ranks with his colleagues, George Harrison, Ringo Star and (now Sir) Paul McCartney. Lennon was shot dead by a crazed fan in the United States where he and his Japanese wife, Yoko Ono, went to settle. The history of the king of rock'n roll Elvis Presley, and how he died of a drug overdose at the age of 42, is also well documented. Nearer home, the shooting to death of raggae star Lucky Dube as he dropped his children at a relative's home in South Africa, is still fresh in the minds of most of his countless followers in Africa and beyond. His alleged killers recently appeared in court and their motive still remains unclear although, initial reports suggested that it was the work of criminals who have made South Africa the most violent place outside a war zone. But again, most fans are wondering whether Dube's murder had anything to do with his musical prowess, which made him one of the wealthiest black artists and the envy of many struggling performers.  (Sila Press Agency). 



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