If you’re not into Mozart or Chopin, you might begin to change your mind (no pun intended) when you start to realize the benefits of listening to classical music. And I'm not talking about hearsay or myths, but actual scientific facts. Many studies have conclusively proven that listening to classical music has both psychological and physical benefits; confirming that there are more benefits to embracing classical music than just pure listening pleasure.
Even though some will think of you as a cultured nerd for making classical music a part of your daily routine, you’ll be the one reaping the many brainy benefits. Here's a look at some of the most interesting reasons why you should be listening to classical music:
1. A Mood Booster
Scientists have always been interested in how music has the ability to influence our moods and create a positive atmosphere.
According to a study conducted by Glasgow University, different types of music that vary in rhythm, melody, and pitch evokes certain emotional responses. And classical music proved to stimulate responses, beneficial to relieving emotional pain.
Research confirmed that listening to classical music releases endorphins – ‘feel good’ chemicals that we associate with happiness. We experience an improvement in our well-being; explaining why classical music reduces the feelings of loneliness and depression.
2. Reduces Stress Levels
Listening to loud and upbeat music has its perks, especially when you need extra motivation for that cardio you skipped last week. But have you ever listened to upbeat and fast music, only to suddenly feel overwhelmed?
Feeling overwhelmed is a natural response because aggressive, pounding music can make you feel stressed and anxious. Classical music, on the other hand, can lower the levels of cortisol in your body, which means you’re experiencing lower levels of stress. This relieves the feelings of anxiety while boosting your mood.
3. Helps Process Traumatic Experiences
In a Southern Methodist University study, playing classical music in the background helped people feel more comfortable in disclosing personal experiences. The classical music promoted a positive atmosphere and relaxed the people’s overall state of mind.
Their overall relaxed state of minds helped them in the honest communication of their emotions, which can help people in processing traumatic experiences.
According to Greenberg’s research, adults who had been through trauma as children will engage differently to the music than others who have not. In other words, listening to classical music can assist people in processing their emotions after a traumatic event.
4. Healthy Inspiration
In the hustle and bustle in today’s world, we all need a little inspiration to live a healthier lifestyle. And yes, listening to classical music can help.
The main result of a study carried out by Cornell University proved that classical music can help people with their diets.
Playing classical music in the background while dimming the lights in dining areas help people to enjoy their food more and eat less.
This means that you can improve your health by playing soft, classical music during meals.
5. Lowers Blood Pressure
It’s amazing to think that cardiologists have found a connection between classical music and our blood pressure levels. Research showed that music with a slower tempo can help you regulate your heartbeat.
According to professor Bernardi, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and many other classical music pieces are in sync with our body's natural rhythm and can help keep our blood pressure at its optimal level.
6. Improves Your Quality of Sleep
This doesn’t mean that classical music will bore you to sleep, but it’s a great way to create a relaxing atmosphere that is ideal for sleeping better.
Listening to classical music is a great substitute for medication that helps you to fall asleep as it helps to relax your body physically and calm your mind, which improves your quality of rest.
7. Relaxes You During Pregnancy
With the notable effects that classical music have on your stress levels and blood pressure, it’s clear why a Taiwanese study confirmed that it’s good to listen to classical music during your pregnancy.
As well as the ability to relax the mother-to-be, listening to classical music during the pregnancy can also strengthen the baby’s early language skills. The music helps the baby to recognize between sounds, which helps with the development of his/her auditory memory.
8. Relieves Pain
Instead of reaching for an aspirin, reach for Beethoven. Studies have shown that classical music can help tune out the pain.
For those who are recovering from surgery or an illness, classical music helps to reprogram the brain to rather focus on the melodious sounds than on the physical pain. It has also been shown that it speeds up the healing process of damaged tissue. Impressive, isn’t it?
9. Betters Your Performance
It’s often recommended that we listen to music while working out because it motivates us and encourages us to push ourselves out of our comfort zones.
You might not believe it when I say that classical music can get you in the zone, but it’s actually more motivational than the latest pop songs. The different instruments work well together to create an intense and emotional piece of music.
Classical music, such as Shostakovich or Wagner, reaches climax after climax and doesn’t have lyrics that can distract you. Listening to classical music will boost your physical performance and motivate you to work harder.
10. Boost Brain Power
Another one of the great benefits of listening to classical music is that it can give your brain a boost. Numerous studies have concluded that classical music improves brain activity as it arouses stimuli that help in the processing of information.
In other words, the complexity of classical music helps you to stay alert and enhance the activity of genes that are related to proper brain function.
11. Improves Your Memory
Neurotransmitters play an important role in the formation of your memory. When you listen to classical music you’re stimulating these neurotransmitters and enhancing the function of your brain as well as improve chemical balances that help to carry electrical impulses through your brain.
These changes help the brain to function at its maximum capacity and improve the formation of your long-term memory. At the end, remembering becomes easier.
Studies in regards to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have also confirmed that musical memory is retained, which can be linked to other memories like special events and relationships. And as we connect a song with an event, the effectiveness of messages being sent to our brains enhance; improving our overall memory.
12. Helps With Expressing Emotions
Music is the language of emotions and expresses what we struggle to express verbally. When we connect with music, we begin to cope with our love, anger, or depression as it helps us to be more honest with ourselves.
Listening to classical music has the ability to release any emotional blockages we may be experiencing. Surrendering yourself to the moment gives you the opportunity to understand your emotions better; making it easier to express yourself.
If these reasons don’t convince you to make classical music a part of your life’s journey, nothing will!
About the Author: Helen Baker
I am a freelance teacher and writer based in Ann Arbor, MI. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, I spent some time teaching English in Paris and, thereafter, returned to Ann Arbor where I was involved both in the media and academics. Currently I am a stay at home mom, working as a freelance writer and teacher. I love all my guitars and I also have an affinity towards old grand pianos. I love singing, traveling, reading, writing, watching films and spending quality time with my husband.