The Effects of Music

Music plays an important role in all of our lives; it’s significant across cultures, religions, and the everyday routines of many individuals. People listen to it for a variety of reasons: to de-stress after a long day, lift their moods, soothe as background noise, and much more.

Music appeals to people so much that it has remained an important part of many societies for centuries, lasting and developing within and across cultures over time. Given the significant role that music plays in our day-to-day lives, it is natural to wonder how listening to it affects us. The influence and benefits of music on humans extends into both our psychological and physical response to it.    


The Benefits of Music:


  • Music Helps in Recovery from Stress


A study by the New York Academy of Sciences showed that listening to relaxing music when exposed to stimulants of anxiety stopped rising cortisol levels, which correspond with stress. The control group did not listen to music, and stress levels continued to increase in 30 minutes of silence. A study from 2013 also demonstrated that music aided in faster recovery after subjects experienced high cortisol levels. 


  • Music Aids in Pain Relief and Recovery


Music therapy is a growing field uncovering the physically curative properties of music. A study by the Oxford Academic Journal of Music Therapy revealed that “music interventions had statistically significant effects in decreasing pain on 0–10 pain scales.” According to Harvard Health, music is also helpful in physical rehabilitation and recovery.


  • Music Improves Moods


According to Nature, listening to music you enjoy leads to the release of dopamine, which is a chemical messenger in the brain linked to responses of pleasure, reward, and motivation, as explained by Healthline. The chemical response of our brains to music evokes positive feelings, making music an effective way to brighten up a person’s mood. 


  • Music Can Help with Focus


Classical music is often said to help with concentration during mentally engaging activities such as studying. In one study, two groups of students were placed in a one hour lecture, half of them listening to classical music in the background. The results showed that the group listening to classical music retained more information that the students who did not. According to, the right kind of music may also help with endurance during study sessions, improve mood levels, and increase motivation. However, this is specific to each person, as some may find that their concentration and retention is elevated in silence. 


  • Music Helps with Performance in a Workout


According to Runner’s World, listening to music while running helps you maintain a consistent pace with less effort. It also serves as a positive distraction from the exertion of a workout, which can “benefit athletic exertion by up to 15 percent,” as stated by Huff Post. Listening to fast-paced music improves effort, mood, and performance during a workout. 


  • Music and Memory


Music can stimulate memories in Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, according to University Health News Daily. Nostalgia from melodies and songs are linked to the recollection of a person’s past experience or memory


  • Music Improves Sleep


Lastly, several studies show that music may aid in sleep.  A study in 2008 concluded that listening to music an hour before students slept improved their quality of res


Music is an important part of many people’s lives and its effects are universal. Music is not only an expression of personal taste, but also directly beneficial to the completion of other tasks.  


Evelyn Sharma

Evelyn Sharma is a junior and writer for the Oracle whose passions include music, reading, art, and anything else you can express yourself creatively through.