Research published in Learning and Individual Difference found that students who listened to a one-hour lecture where classical music was played in the background scored significantly higher in a quiz on the lecture when compared to a similar group of students who heard the lecture with no music. Researchers speculate that the music puts students in a heightened emotional state, which makes them more receptive to information
“It is possible that music, provoking a change in the learning environment, influenced the students’ motivation to remain focused during the lecture, which led to better performance on the multiple-choice quiz,” they wrote.
This is not the first study to zero in on this phenomenon. A number of academic studies show that listening to classical music benefits the brain, sleep patterns and stress levels. According to research from the Duke Cancer Institute, listening can also help to lessen anxiety. Researchers gave headphones playing Bach concertos to men undergoing a stressful biopsy and discovered they had no spike in diastolic blood pressure during the procedure and reported significantly less pain.
But it seems as if only classical music has this affect. Scientists at the University of San Diego compared changes in blood pressure among individuals listening to classical, jazz or pop music. Those listening to classical music had significantly lower systolic blood pressure when compared to those listening to other genres or no music at all.
Classical music can still help when you are not paying attention to listening. A Russian study published in Human Physiology found that children who listened to classical music for an hour a day over a six-month period exhibited brain changes that indicated greater levels of relaxation, even when the child was asked not to pay attention to the music.
So, students, now is the time to put away Beyoncé and start cranking Bach!
Article by Jamie Prisco, published in the Classicalite, Dec 16, 2014