Last night the kids and I do what we do every year on Grammy night – we make popcorn and listen (well, I stand and dance … and sometimes they join me) to the top songs and artists of the year.  In our house – music makes the world go around.

I grew up with music.  My mom would play all kinds  at home — dancing to almost anything.  My father and his mother gave me the opera bug, and (if you didn’t already know this about me) when I taught my crazy busy aerobic classes … it was all about the music.  I’ve been known to dance almost anywhere — including at the grocery store (yes, the best place to do it!).

My kids and I have a game: when we are in the car, we each take turns plugging in our phones to the radio and playing our favorite songs for each other.  I get to hear their music and we all get to show off our new favorites!  While they each have different tastes (not all pop – some classical and instrumental too … !) all the music has the same thing in common – it makes us feel good!

The science of why music makes us feel good is fascinating.  Studies show that people listening to pleasurable music (of any kind) had activated brain regions, which are connected to euphoric reward responses, like those we experience from sex, good food and addictive drugs.  Those rewards come from a gush of a neurotransmitter called dopamine.  It’s interesting and easy enough to understand why sex and food are rewarded with a dopamine rush: this makes us want more and so contributes to our survival and propagation.  But why would a sequence of sounds with no obvious survival value do the same thing?

Kids – you want to take drugs?  How about I get you an iTunes card instead?  Can you imagine telling your partner, “Honey, I’d rather listen to music instead of having sex … or eating that dinner you spent hours preparing.”

Here’s the thing:  I question a lot of things in life but somethings are just normal to me.  One of those things – how great music makes me feel.  It just does.

My kids have promised to show me how to link my favorite songs to my blog site so I can do a post on the music that makes me dance in the cereal aisle.  Until then, I’m dancing today to KC and the Sunshine Band!   I can even get my kids to “boogie” to this one!  Here’s the link (I think) – turn down the sound just in case it works!!!

Welcome to Monday. Have fun and stay warm today!