It seems that listening to music does more for our brains than just aesthetics. In fact, a research team from Stanford University showed that music engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention, memory, and making predictions. High school students that study music have higher grade point averages and develop faster physically. They also develop better listening skills. Children exposed to music before age seven have a greater increase in the size of the corpus callosum. These fibers are instrumental in joining the left and right hemispheres and may increase the processing of information between both sides of the brain. Actively taught students were found to have a greater cerebral cortex activation.
Listening to certain baroque-period music causes the heart beat and pulse rate to relax to the beat of the music and as the body becomes relaxed and alert, the mind is able to concentrate more easily. Mozart's music, with a 60 beats per minute beat pattern, activates the left and right side of the brain - this in turn maximizes learning and retention.
Music also affects all living things. Music such as the Blue Danube has shown to aid hens in laying more eggs. Wheat will grow faster when exposed to special ultrasonic and musical sounds. Plants grow well for almost every type of music except rock and acid rock, in fact they withered and died when exposed to those genres. In the 1970's teens would bring raw eggs to a rock concert and put them in front of the stage - by the end of the concert the eggs would be hard boiled by the music and could be eaten. Researchers showed that proteins in a liquid medium were coagulated when subjected to piercing high-pitched sounds.
Music is much more than a distraction. All the more reason to incorporate it into a life well-lived.