What Does Rhythm Do to the Brain?

Rhythm and music affect our emotions and thinking, not just individually but also as a group. This means listening to the same rhythm coordinates and synchronises our thinking. After all, rhythms cause us to think and feel the same way.

Effect of rhythms on individuals and groups

In the history and movies about ancient warfare, you might have noticed the use of drums in the armies’ march. The sound of the drums helped synchronise their thoughts and emotions on the upcoming battle. Also, their movements became more coordinated as a result of the beat and rhythm (e.g. soldiers walk at the same pace and they take each step at the same time).

Rhythms also play a huge role in praise and worship. There are rhythms that make us feel closer with the supernatural or better get in touch with our core being. The kinds of music in churches evoke or support emotions related to the belief in Supreme Being and the afterlife.

In dance performances for entertainment, rhythms affect the emotional and mental states of both the performers and the audience. They tend to experience the same emotions because of the unifying rhythm. This happens especially in group performances where both the unifying rhythm and synchronised movements affect the emotional states and mental processes of each performer.

As a result, unity and synchronicity ultimately affects and influences how we interact. Perhaps it’s because of how rhythmic sound synchronises brain waves (the rhythm somehow matches the ongoing oscillations of brain waves). Roughly it’s similar to connecting better with strangers who have something in common with us. Here in our case, what’s common is we’re hearing and processing the same rhythmic sound.

In group dance performances, the performers have to act as a single organism. For this to happen, their movements as well as their emotions and thought processes should be aligned, synchronised and coordinated. This way, they can deliver a great performance that effectively evokes the audience’s emotions.

That’s always our aim here at Dance on Q as we help children become great and disciplined performers. We arrange and facilitate the performances so they can have that experience of synchronicity as well as better connect and coordinate with other children during each practice and performance.