For years I’ve heard how classical music is a wonderful thing to listen to when studying or doing homework, and that it should be played to infants to help them become more intelligent. But is this true? Does classical music actually make you smarter? Does it help you when you study, or should you just keep blasting out those R&B tracks as your background noise? Is there science to back up the the claims that classical music is superior, or did they simply stem from the differences between socioeconomic standing, education level, and music tastes?
Personally, I like to listen to music without any words when I study, because the words are much too distracting when I’m trying to form my own thoughts. Incidentally, I’m listening to Beethoven as I write this post. Classical music is very calming to me and it does actually help me concentrate. I am not alone in this, either.
This study, done by a University in France and published in Learning and Individual Differences, showed that students who listened to classical music during a lecture scored higher on a quiz directly following the lecture than students who did not. The 249 students who participated in the study were split into experimental and control groups. The experimental group sat through a lecture with classical music playing in the background, while the control group attended the same lecture without the music. Afterwards, they were given a multiple choice quiz about the lecture to complete. The scores belonging to the experimental group were significantly higher than those of the control group. As stated in this article, the researchers formed the idea that the music had put the students into a slightly more relaxed state, which in turn made it easier for them to receive new information. I really believe this to be true, it’s much easier to think and concentrate when your mind and body are relaxed. Not to mention the fact that the addition of the music changed things up a bit for the students, and they no longer had to listen to just the droning on of the lecturers voice. Which, we can all admit, can be a bit tedious.
Another study, done by the Duke Cancer Institute, found that classical music can drastically reduce stress, particularly for people about to undergo a serious operation. 88 patients took part in this study, randomly assigned to three groups. The men in the two groups without music had blood pressure levels that remained high throughout and after their procedures, while the men who wore headphones playing Bach concertos had no spike in blood pressure. Our blood pressure frequently rises as a reaction to stress and anxiety, therefore this study showed that classical music helped to reduce both of these. The men who listened to Bach even reported that they had not felt as much pain as the men who did not listen to music.
So, if you’re ever cramming for an exam, or scrambling to finish homework last minute and you find yourself being unable to concentrate, crank up some Brahms or Bach or Mozart. Give classical a try, you might find it helps you out.
By Duke Medicine News and Communications. “Headphone Music Eases Anxiety During Prostate Biopsies.” – Duke Medicine. N.p., 09 Jan. 2012. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.
“ERIC – Music during Lectures: Will Students Learn Better?, Learning and Individual Differences, 2012-Apr.” ERIC – Music during Lectures: Will Students Learn Better?, Learning and Individual Differences, 2012-Apr. N.p., Apr. 2012. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.
“Studying for Finals? Let Classical Music Help.” USC News. N.p., 05 Dec. 2014. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.