Got the music in you?

One of my fondest childhood memories is of my brother and I riding Big Wheels around the garage, probably around age five, as my father banged out a Gene Krupa-esque drum solo on his old Ludwigs. As the drums reverberated around the cement-floor garage, we pedaled ourselves dizzy, soaking up what dad was playing.

Later, I would listen for hours to headphones of my favorite drummers, from jazz and rock genres, and zone out. A high school nerd, music was my drug.

Why does music affect many of us this way? It can be a choir, a symphony, a bass-thumping concert or even a two-stepping number out at Luckenbach. You can’t hold music, but it still moves us beyond measure.

A recent science article in the New York Times tried to explain the effect that music has on the brain. When you feel a “chill” while enjoying a musical passage, that “causes the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, an essential signaling molecule in the brain.”

Dopamine is released into the part of the brain called the striatum, which is known to respond to stimuli like food and sex, or even artificial stimuli, like alcohol.

The Times science team did a study with a music-recommendation program to customize a listener’s tastes.

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