Initially, a person's temporal and frontal lobes begin processing the sounds of music when a song begins to play, with brain cells deciphering melody, rhythm and pitch. Many researchers believe most activity concerning music happens in the brain's right hemisphere, while other researchers say it happens on both sides.
Three factors that affect how the brain processes music are whether a song has lyrics, whether it is played live and how much experience a person has with music. For example, if a song has lyrics, it stimulates the Broca's and Wernicke's areas, the language processing centers of the brain, according to HowStuffWorks.com. Some music triggers memories, which leads to activity in the medial prefrontal cortex.