Music has been an integral part of culture for centuries. Classical music has been shown to have a variety of beneficial effects on people, from putting people in a calmer and more relaxed state, reducing stress, and even improve intelligence. It is no wonder that appreciation for the genre is perpetuated over time, even if some of its effects have been exaggerated. Science has proven however, that classical music does actually have effects on the human brain in a variety of wonderful ways. So turn up that Mozart and read on:
1. Spoken word and the emotional expression in classical music have similar effects on the brain.
Music has always had the ability to convey emotions, and many use it in place of words. It is no surprise then, that music follows the same tonal characteristics that our voices do. Therefore, on a subconscious level we are able to distinguish emotions like happiness and sadness from songs, depending on the mode of music.
2. It helps lower your anxiety and pain levels.
A lot of things make people anxious throughout the day. One example would be surgeries, where people are unsure of what is coming and become restless. Even after the surgery, traditional pharmaceutical pain-killers can only do so much. One study shows that playing Bach to patients made them more relaxed, and after the procedure, in this case a prostate biopsy, playing more Bach helped decrease pain levels.
3. It can help you avoid blood pressure medications.
By lowering your stress and calming you down, classical music has the ability to lower your blood pressure. A comparison was done
between patients who didn’t listen to classical music, those who listened to other forms of music, and those who did listen to classical music. The results showed that those who listened to classical music had lower systolic blood pressure levels of a noticeable amount.
One study at the Southern Methodist University in 2001 showed that the type of music played had an effect, emotionally, on people as they were asked to remember an experience. Depending on what they were listening to, their topics were influence as was the language they used.
5. Kiss insomnia goodbye.
Studies have shown that classical music helps people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. The tonal patterns and rhythms put people into a more meditative mode, allowing them to fall asleep.
6. It alters your brainwaves.
Even without paying attention to the music itself, brainwaves altered themselves in children, increasing coherence between different parts of the cerebral cortex. These children also experienced a more relaxed state.
7. It cultivates your child’s brain development.
While it doesn’t guarantee your child will be the next Einstein or Tesla, studies have shown that teaching a child an instrument will help them surpass their peers on tests. It has also been shown to help children cultivate self-control as well as verbal and spatial skills.
8. Its superpower is reducing crime.
Classical music isn’t a superhero, but it does have the ability to reduce crime in cities. Some cities around the world have started playing classical music in high traffic areas, to ensure the most people hear it. It isn’t clear exactly why or how it affects the brain, but crime rates substantially were lowered, especially in areas like the rail systems, creating a cost-effective way of lowering crime rates.
9. It can soothe the savage beast.
Classical music is some of the most calming music you could ever find. Studies show it reduces stress, anxiety, and fights depression by making the brain release dopamine. This may not work on people who absolutely hate classical music, but it will help most people relax.
10. It can help your baby grow faster.
One study showed that classical music helped premature babies grow faster, allowing them a better chance at survival. Researchers don’t know exactly why this happens, but they theorize that the music boosts their immune system and suppresses things like stress that would otherwise inhibit growth. Either way, this method has helped parents bring home their pre-term babies sooner. Definitely a benefit.