The health benefits of listening to classical music

Music has been part of our lives since ancient times. We are still not clear about its origin, but its roots are back in the early Christian church and are believed to be created by them. There is a varied range of music that we get to hear today as it has become a major source of entertainment for us. People listen to music when they are in the car, traveling on a bus, at house parties, or while attending concerts by their favorite artists. Listening to music can make a person feel relaxed and happy because of the release of the happy hormone – dopamine. But, do you know apart from its relaxing effect, there is a type of music that has health benefits? Classical music.  

listening to classical music is beneficial for one's health.
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Music has evolved over thousands of years and has transitioned through eras of different cultures and values. Classical music is not as popular today as other forms like rock, hip-hop, jazz, etc., but it is considered to be music with formal standards. Today, the main audience for classical music is the older generation. 

Classical music surrounds you constantly whether you realize it or not, it is part of your life even if it’s not popular. 

Classical era music and dance
Still from the movie Pride and Prejudice

These days classical music has found its audience through classic movies and shows such as Bridgerton, Pride and Prejudice, etc. The famous tunes on which Ms. Elizabeth Benette dances with Mr. William Darcy are part of classical music.

What is classical music?

Classical era
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Classical music is written in western musical traditions using an established form. It is the formal music form of the western world. It is built on the principles of formality and excellence. The classical era (1750 – 1820) witnessed the rise of classical musicians’ who created masterpieces that after centuries are famous for their various health benefits.

The classical era established the standards for composition, presentation, and style. 

Piano an instrument used in classical music
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The harpsichord which was part of Baroque music (previous era) was not included in classical music, instead piano became the dominant keyboard instrument. It is based on complex music form and harmonic organization. This music form sounds cleaner and lighter than other music forms especially Baroque. 

Classical music
CMUSE

Classical music is considered an elegant and graceful music form, which is properly constructed and performed in moderation and control. The classic era also witnessed the emergence of the sonata, the string, the symphony, and the concerto, which became part of classical music.

Classical music is also called Canonic music, cultivated music, and serious music (although many musicians don’t agree with using the word serious with classical). Comic opera also rose to popularity during the classical era.  

It is believed that the western classical tradition begin with the early Christian church. The early Christian church rejected the influence of their surrounding pagan culture, hence making it necessary to disapprove of all the earthy things which included music. They created their own music in an attempt to disassociate themselves from the predominant music of ancient Greece and Rome, which reminded them of the pagan religion. 

The early church culture was based on the Geek philosophy which states that music was a medium that had a cosmic connection to the forces of nature and thus possessed the power to affect human thought and conduct.

Classical music may not be as popular as it should be today but is definitely good for one’s health. Our elders still prefer this music form over others as they can connect with its style and composition. It is not only soothing for one’s ears but can help in curing many health-related problems.

It is rightly said most good things never trend, but we are here to make sure you will not miss out on this one. Before we will discuss the health benefits of classical music, we would like to give you a little bit of information on its types.

Classical music is sometimes used to describe non-western art music displaying similar complex characteristics. It includes –

Indian classical music

Indian classical music
Naad

This Indian subcontinent music is divided into two traditions. The North Indian classical music is known as Hindustani and the South Indian expression is known as Carnatic. It found its root in the Vedic literature of Hinduism, and the ancient Natyashashtra. Indian classical music has two foundational elements that are raga and tala. 

Yayue

It is a form of classical music performed at the royal court and temples in ancient China. The Chinese philosopher Confucius considered this kind of music to be beneficial and good. 

Health benefits of the classical music 

orchestra
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Lowers blood pressure

Do you know there are other things you can do to keep your heart healthy? One such way is by listening to classical music. According to an Oxford University study – classical music can help in keeping your blood pressure low.  

According to Michael Schneck,  MD, a neurologist with Loyola Medicine in Chicago – “It is the emphasis of listening to the harmonies and rhythms of classical music that may provide a calming effect for people, thus helping to lower their blood pressure.” He further added – “This could occur with classical music or jazz music, along with taking your blood pressure medication as prescribed by your provider.” 

Relieves anxiety

Classical music can reduce stress and relieves anxiety in a person. In a study, it was found that a pregnant lady who listened to classical music was less likely to be stressed as compared to those who didn’t. So, next time when you are stuck in traffic, we advise you to listen to classical music.

Improves memory

Do you know classical music can sharpen your memory? Yes, it helps in boosting your memory and makes you remember things for a longer period of time. 

According to a study, people who listened to Mozart’s music showed an increase in brain wave activity directly linked to memory. Remember to listen to Mozart’s music when you are learning something new.

Betters our sleep

Health benefits of listening to classical music - better sleep
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Irregular sleep pattern has another topic of concern which we are leaving for the next time. But, almost everyone complains of irregular sleep these days. Listening to classical music for 45 minutes before bed can improve your sleep quality. According to Catherine Jackson, a licensed clinical psychologist and board-certified neurotherapist based in Chicago, “Most classical music has a slow tempo and is soothing, making it great to prepare your brain and body for sleep.”

Helps to become more productive

Makes a person more productive
USC News

Turn on classical music in the background while performing any task, it will boost your productivity. A series of studies have proven that music makes repetitive tasks more enjoyable. Play Beethoven or Haydn in the background if you are working on something important, this will show amazing results.

Makes one happy

Happy and healthy girl
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Classical music can help in releasing dopamine which is a type of neurotransmitter and hormone. This hormone makes you happy and will uplift your mood. 

Helps to overcome depression

A depressed person should listen to classical music, as it can help in relieving depression and overcoming sadness by releasing tension. It is also helpful for pregnant women dealing with post-partum stress, and patients facing stress issues post and pre-surgery. 

Channels inner creativity

Boosts the creativity of a person
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Do you know classical music can help you get new ideas? It has the power to channel your inner creativity by changing your mindset and will help your brain to think of new ideas and bring about your creative side. If you can’t find inspiration for your work, then plug in your headphones and listen to classical music for inspiration.

Eases pain

Sometimes painkillers couldn’t relieve the intensity of the pain. But, do you know what can? Classical music. According to a study done by London researchers, it was found that the patients who used to listen to classical music were taking less medication for pain. As it helps in decreasing heart rate and eases the pain.

Makes a person emotionally available

In a study from 2001, it was found that people who listen to classical music were willing to share their personal information in writing. According to Jackson when she plays light classical music during her session – “Some patients who typically have a hard time sharing or discussing emotional content are better able to open up and share.” It helps a person in opening up with the other person, it also generates empathy in people making them emotionally more available. 

Do you knowa few studies claim that classical music can help babies sleep better? It has a calming effect on babies which makes them peaceful and serene. 

“Sometimes, when inspiration runs dry, I drink classical music until my words spill out.”

Kamand Kojouri, Author

Mozart Effect 

Classical era musician - Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on 27 January 1756 and died on 5 December 1791, was a remarkable composer of the classical period. He is considered the greatest composer in the history of western music along with composers like Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Joseph Haydn, etc. He composed symphonies, concertos, and operas. But, who knew that years later, the world will listen to his compositions for their health benefits? 

Do you know – There is a 1993 study that states that listening to Mozart music can make you smarter and temporarily boost scores on 1 portion of IQ tests. Some popular science theories claim that early childhood exposure to classical music can make a child smarter and has beneficial effects on the mental development of a child. 

However, listening to Mozart doesn’t show permanent changes but it surely has calming effects making a person more relaxed and confident. 

Do you know –

  • A single violin is made from over 70 individual pieces of wood.
  • There are two skulls in Haydn’s tomb. The original skull was stolen by phrenologists, and a replacement skull was put in the tomb. In 1954, the original skull was restored but the replacement was not removed from the tomb. 
  • The London Symphony Orchestra was booked to travel on the Titanic’s maiden voyage, but they changed boats at the last minute.
  • The Japanese word ‘karaoke’ comes from a phrase meaning ’empty orchestra’.
  • ‘Mozartkugeln’ is one of the most popular chocolate brands in Austria.

“Classical music is like the morning sunshine.”

Adrienne Posey, Author of the science fiction novel, The End Begins.

Classical music is one of the oldest forms of music in the world. It has played an essential role in the eras bygone. However, with the rising popularity of hip-hop, rock, etc people are drifting away from it. We hope that after reading this insightful article, on the many health benefits of classical music, you will definitely give it a try. Furthermore, it is soothing and peaceful and can help you in staying healthy and happy. 

Featured image credit – iStock


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Renu Solanki

Renu Solanki works as a content specialist with Postbox Consultancy Services. She is an English Literature graduate. She is an avid-reader and passionate about the study of the Universe, Spirituality, Psychology and Traditional Culture. In her free time she likes to indulge in a steaming cup of black coffee & Netflix. .