Listening to classical music is inspiring and enjoyable for those of us who are fans of the genre. But a growing body of scientific research is proving that there are many more benefits to be gained from embracing classical composers than pure personal satisfaction.
Below we take a look at ten reasons why you should make classical music a part of your daily routine.
Decrease stress levels
Listening to a peace of music can trigger positive chemical reactions in the brain which help reduce stress and depression levels, studies suggest. Some also claim that the act of hearing music has as great an impact physiologically as having a massage.
Boost brain power
This is the famous, or to some illusive, “Mozart effect.” Studies show that students perform better in tests if they listen to classical music, can complete them more quickly, and improve their IQ over time. There is some disagreement among researchers about the extent of this effect and how precisely it works.
Improve quality of sleep
Testing students preparing for exams, researchers found that their sleep patterns were improved significantly when they spent 45 minutes before bed listening to classical music. An adequate level of sleep each night helps with learning and other tasks during the day.
Better your physical performance
Perhaps unsurprisingly, music has been identified as a major factor in assisting people to perform physical tasks, whether exercising to strengthen fitness or carrying out tasks which require coordination.
Learn more about your personality
David Greenberg of Cambridge University has conducted research into links between music and personality traits. His work revealed that it is possible to tell the type of personality someone has based on their musical preference. He divides between empathists and systemisers, saying that the first group are more influenced by emotions, while the latter think in terms of patterns or systems. People who are somewhere in the middle are categorised as balanced. He adds that 95 percent of people can be placed in one of these three groups. Empathists are more likely to go for mellow music with sad emotions, systemisers chose more intense styles, and the balanced group was more likely to be open to a broader range of styles. Such information can help councillors and therapists with treatment, and predict certain behaviours.
Help process traumatic experiences
Greenberg notes that music can assist people to process emotions following a traumatic event. His research indicated that adults who had been through trauma in childhood engage with music in a different way to others who have not.
Discover your hidden musical talent
Professionals like teachers can used the personality information found by Greenberg to determine whether a child or young person has a particular musical talent. This means that allowing your children to be exposed to music could provide the information to uncover a talent you never knew they had.
Ease chronic pain
Evidence has been found to indicate that music speeds up the process of healing tissue. It also can distract the brain from focusing on chronic physical pain.
Improve memory and prevent degeneration
Hearing a piece of classical music can enhance the activity of the genes which regulate dopamine secretion and memory, while reducing those affecting neuro-degeneration. The findings were based on getting a group to listen to Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major. However, the beneficial effects of this was only detected by the study in participants who were musically experienced, so to take advantage of this you’ll need to do more than just listen.
Help your heart
A study by Bernardi, Porta and Sleight discovered that music with a slower tempo can help regulate your heartbeat. The test involved 32 participants, half of whom were experienced musicians. Each person listened to various two-minute clips of different music genres, and researchers found that there heart rate adjusted in line with the music’s tempo. This happened independently of the individual’s opinion about the music style they were listening to.
Here’s a great infographic produced by TakeLessons, emphasising the surprising benefits of listening to Classical Music: