The Mental and Physical Benefits of Listening to Classical Music When You Study

piano music instrument

This is a collaborative post.

As spring rolls around and finals in school come to a head, it’s important to prioritise your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. But we all know that it’s difficult to stick to personal boundaries when deadlines creep up, the assignments going into exams become more difficult, and our overall quality of focus starts to fade. So, what are our options? Let’s take a look at some common go-to’s that might fall short of an ideal solution.

First, with the pressure on and homework piling up, your initial impulse to stay focused may be to turn to coffee or quick sugary snack to keep you energised. But when we’re tired, we often rely on quick rewards that provide relief, but make us jittery or prone to crashing. Plus, choosing highly-caffeinated drinks or carb-heavy munchies can raise your blood pressure or lead to a cycle of more stress from sugar-withdrawals and heightened anxiety. But what if there were a healthier option out there?

You may have considered going for a jog to clear your head in between assignments or taking up cleaning and crafts as de-stressing hobbies. But these activities don’t help you when you’re confined to the desk to study. Finding a more comfortable studying location like the bed or the couch can make you sleepy and hinder your mind from focusing. So, what’s the secret to maintaining focus while keeping stress levels down?

One solution that several scientific studies point to is listening to classical music while you study!

orchestra music instrument

The Benefits of Listening to Classical Music While You Study

Classical music has a multitude of both mental and physical benefits that can help you retain information, stay motivated, and help you relax while studying! We’ll examine some scientifically-based effects that classical music can have on someone while they’re studying, and how it can lead to positive long-term growth in your academic life and personal wellbeing:

When researchers discovered the “Mozart effect”—a theory that suggested listening to Mozart could raise your IQ—was not true, they didn’t want to abandon the idea that Mozart could make people more productive. Instead, they conducted new studies to uncover the benefits of listening to classical music.

Researchers noticed that students who listened to more classical music when they studied were overall happier kids. Scientists suggest this occurs because listening to classical music releases dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure, happiness, and drive. So, when you pair dopamine with studying for exams, your brain is telling you to keep up the good work. You’re more likely to feel motivated and excited during your work, subconsciously overcoming stress, anxiety, and depression. This is important for two reasons:

  • You want to feel good about your studies. Having a positive response to your studies can help you create a genuine connection to the material and make you excited to return to the next chapter or lesson. This way, classical music can serve as mental and emotional support for tasks you’re expected to spend a long time doing.
  • Dopamine can help you study with a more positive mindset for a longer period. For tasks that naturally take a long time, like studying a language or biology course, it’s easy to become frustrated and give up on difficult concepts. As classical music creates a more pleasing and calming environment, it can help you extend productivity while creating a built-in rewards system.

You can think about classical music’s effect on the brain like recharging a battery. When your willpower is depleted, music can recharge it with positivity and relaxation. The calm rhythm and composition is designed to gently stimulate your brain while also maintaining a pacifying effect. As a result, you are able to focus better, retain more information, and lower your blood pressure.

Research has shown a noticeable improvement in quality of life when people listen to classical music while studying. The central benefit of listening to classical music is that it decreases your overall stress, which automatically increases physical wellness. In scientific studies, those who had classical music on in the background reportedly had better sleep, less anxiety, better control over stress and depression, and a more alert cognitive state.

When you’re relaxed while studying, you’re able to better retain information because your body isn’t fighting for attention and focus. Listening to the soft, dynamic compositions of strings, woodwinds, and brass can regulate your breathing and help occupy the places of your brain that might get easily distracted.

Time to Pick Out a Playlist!

Now that you know the benefits of listening to classical music while studying, there’s no better time to pick out a hot new wig-wearing artist from the 18th century to accompany you during your next assignment. While there are a number of artists to choose from, we recommend picking some easy background compositions instead of the exciting orchestral selections—save those for your exercise playlist. Here are some composers to help get you started:

  • Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus – Salzburg Symphony No. 1
  • Bach, Johan Sebastian – Goldberg Variations
  • Vivaldi, Antonio Lucio – The Four Seasons
  • Debussy, Achille-Claude – Clair De Lune
  • Chopin, Frydreyk Franciszek – Andante Spianato Op. 22
  • Satie, Erik – Gymnopédie

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