On a typical day, I listen to several genres of music, based on the mood I’m in and the activity I’m doing at the time. You could say I have an eclectic taste in music, but I know what genres help me focus and others that entertain me. I normally listen to classical music when studying, epic film scores when writing and pop/rock to let loose. There are so many genres of music for us to choose from, but studies have shown that certain genres affect the brain in a variety of ways.
To fully understand how different genres of music make you feel and how your brain reacts to it, we need to understand what is going on inside your brain. There are four major parts of the lobe of the brain, and each part is engaged when music enters. There is not a set path that music travels in the brain, because in many songs, so many factors are changing all the time, so it is more like a tennis match. The cerebellum and auditory cortex work together at the beginning when music first enters the brain; breaking down the basics; pitch and volume. The amygdala controls the emotions that we feel when we listen to music, causing a reaction. The cerebellum connects the basic information to the amygdala and then that leads to a dopamine rush. The dopamine rush is when we feel pleasure from a song and get chills during a particular section of a song. The caudate, a subregion of the striatum is what controls this emotional response. What your brain’s feeling. Now that you have a basic understanding of what is going on inside your brain, let’s look a little closer a specific genres.
In 1993, a study called the Mozart Effect came to the public, stating that listening to classical music can make a child smarter. Mozart makes babies smarter. The BBC reported on a story about the potential greater intelligence when listening to classical music. In several adults, the study found them to have the “ability to manipulate shapes,” but the benefits were short-lived. BBC study. Back to the dopamine rush in the brain, a Prezi presentation stated that while listening to classical music stress hormones were released because there was a calm
pleasure felt when listening to it. So classical must make people more calm and that is why maybe they are found to be more intelligent. Prezi’s Take.
On a completely different spectrum, pop music gets the blood pumping and makes you less calm. The auditory cortex sends messages to the brain, relaying that the music has rhythmic beat and makes the person want to dance and sing. Therefore being a distraction, and probably not that helpful when studying. Prezi Pop. Most pop music is repetitive and catchy, making it easier to get in your head and bother you. While on the other hand, classical music is more complex with different sections and coming up with new ideas.
People are different, their brains don’t all work the same way, different music makes people feel different things. I may be able to study with intense film scores in the background and someone may be able to study with Katy Perry on. Everyone is different. So there is a definite correlation between classical music and having a little better grades. But honestly it just comes to the person’s preferences of what they like. BBC. So don’t think that by listening to classical music you will instantly be smarter. Find the music that makes you less distracted and able to concentrate. I have found mine and it is classical, so find yours.
Here are two songs to compare how your brain reacts to each one: