Music is proved to help people improve intellectual performances in many aspects – speech, memory, learning processes, thinking speed and so on. Did you ever wonder how does it all work? Or what is the best type of music to listen to while studying? If so, then find the answers below.
A general overview
Music stimulates different brain areas:
- Auditory cortex – responsible with analyzing information from music: volume, pitch, speed, melody, rhythm);
- Cerebrum – responsible with recalling music lyrics and melody when someone listens to the same song or sings it; it brings up images associated to songs listened before; in the end, it controls body movements when playing instruments;
- Cerebellum – responsible with communicating with other centers and coordinating body movements in response to music;
- Limbic system – responsible with the emotional reactions to music (according to Alzheimer Rsquo;s Disease Research); music inhibits a part of this system linked to negative emotions like fear.
Now it is clearer why and how music affects the brain at all levels – intellectually, physically, and emotionally.
The Mozart effect
In 1993, the researches Gordon Shaw and Frances Rauscher published their results on the study related to the relationship between music and spatial task performance. Since then, the Mozart effect has become more and more popular.
What is the actual connection between the brain and Mozart? Well, it all went like this: Shaw had a theory stating that neurons function on certain patterns. Then, someone implemented Shaw’s mathematical model into a computer program. The result was a continuously changing pattern generating noises resembling with Mozart music. And this is why it was called “Mozart effect”.
Because the patterns changed their model in time, Shaw decided that Mozart’s music stimulates the spatial-temporal reasoning. As a result, this is the best study music for subjects like geometry, maths, and physics.
An experiment proved the efficiency of Mozart’s music. The two scientists (Gordon Shaw and Frances Rauscher) gathered a group of students and analyzed their performances for three scenarios: listening to Mozart, listening to a relaxation melody and not listening to anything. Students had the best results after listening to Mozart.
The Best Music for Studying
Georgi Lazanov’s music selection for studying
Georgi Lazanov was a Bulgarian psychiatrist who studied the effect of music on memory and learning. He stated that music has a measurable effect on the brain. And indeed, we have seen earlier how many brain parts it activates.
Georgi Lazanov employed classical music for three different studying stages: an initial relaxation, active learning and memory consolidation.
Before starting to study, it is important to set the brain into a receptive mood. For this, Georgi Lazanov recommended the following pieces:
- Claude Debussy – Deux Arabesques;
- Johann Sebastian Bach – 6 Concerti after Vivaldi, Concerto for Harpsichord in F minor, Goldberg Variations;
- Arcangelo Corelli – Music for the Royal Fireworks. — Concerti No. 1 and 3, 12 Concerti Grossi, Opus 6;
- Johann Pachelbel – Canon in D Major;
- Antonio Vivaldi – The Four Seasons. -“Winter”, Flute Concerto Nr. 4 in G Major, 6 Flute Concerti, Opus 10.
For active learning
For actively learning different courses, Georgi Lazanov recommended alert rhythms (named Active concert). These are perfect for reading and absorbing new information. Here is the best study music:
- Tchaikovsky – Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor for Piano and Orchestra;
- Beethoven – Concerto for Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major, Op. 61;
- Mozart – Violin and Orchestra Concert No. 7 in D major;
- Haydn – Symphony No. 67 in F. major; Symphony No. 69 in B. major;
- Beethoven – Concerto No. 5 in E flat major for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 73 (“Emperor”).
For memory consolidation
This stage is dedicated to revising already learned data and for retaining it. Georgi Lazanov named this music Passive concert. The melodies below will help consolidate information into the long term memory:
Corelli – Concerti Grossi, Op. 6, Violin and Orchestra in No. 2, 8, 5, 9; Concerti Grossi, Op. 4, No. 10, 11, 12;
Handel – The Water Music;
J.S. Bach – Fantasy in C Minor and Trio in D minor; Canonic Variations and Toccata;
Vivaldi – Five Concertos for Flute and Chamber Orchestra.
Instrumental ambient music
For those of you who just cannot relate to classical music, here’s a more modern alternative: ambient instrumental music. The same old classic instruments are used to create modern tunes for 21th century. Here are some recommendations:
VSQ Performs the Hits of 2013, Volume 2 – Vitamin String Quartet;
Duke Starwalker – You Are An Angel, Utopia, In Heaven, Tropical Getaway, Fantasy Island;
Utopian Sounds – Paradox, Spindles;
Travis A.King – Creation, Indigo.
Repetitive rhythms and sounds are characteristic for electronic music. These don’t burst out like certain classical songs. Instead, melodies are built on one another and the transition is smooth. Thus, you can remain focused on studying and not on the music. Here are some great tracks:
- Dj Tiesto – Elements of life, Adagio for strings, Ten seconds before sunrise, Traffic, Forever today;
- Nightcrawlers – Push The Feeling On;
- René van der Wouden;
- Adrian von Ziegler and The Enigma TNG – Pulse.
Natural noises are great for increasing the concentration level while studying or even writing. The patterns induce a focusing state of mind and prevent the brain from getting distracting thoughts. Below, there are some useful resources:
- Mynoise.net – contains a large variety of natural noises like rain, thunder, storm, waterfall, summer night, and so on;
- Calmsound.com – with ocean sounds, rainforest and relaxing mix;
- Naturesoundsfor.me – with sounds of birds and others.
In conclusion, effective learning is highly connected to music because it activates several parts of the brain and it fires patterns responsible for neural internal language. Students can choose from classical music, instrumental ambient music, electronic music or even natural noise. In the end, only one thing matters – to find the best study music that keeps you focused and boosts productivity.
What is your favorite music to study to? Feel free to let us know in the comment section below.