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One of the finest examples of cultural legacy that humanity has produced so far, and that will undoubtedly endure through centuries, is western classical music. Being extremely diverse in its nature and sound, the moods it creates, and the instruments it comprises, western classical music has for a long time remained a phenomenon, drawing the attention of psychologists around the world. And, according to numerous studies, western classical music has not just artistic and cultural value, but also causes a number of unexpected and (fortunately) positive effects on the human mind—some of which will be discussed below.

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Dr. Gordon Shaw of the University of California-Irvine discovered in 1993 that western classical music can provoke temporary spikes in intellectual capabilities of students who were listening to Mozart. At the same time, this effect was not observed in control groups, who listened to other kinds of music, which allowed to suggest that it is specifically western classical music causing these “intellectual spikes.” This caused a bunch of simplifications, such as the statement, “listening to Mozart makes people smarter” which, in fact, were not exactly true. What Dr. Shaw’s research implied is that listening to Mozart could be a great warm-up for the mind engaging in abstract thinking (

This effect has been called the “Mozart Effect,” and several more studies have revealed some of its other beneficial effects, along with the positive influence on brain activity. For example, the study conducted by Chakravarthi Kanduri, Computational Biology Researcher at the University of Helsinki, has proved that “listening to classical music enhanced the activity of genes that are mainly related to reward and pleasure, cognitive functions and proper brain function” (Lifehack). This effect works regardless of whether a person has or has no musical experience: people participating in the experiment were divided into two focus groups—one being knowledgeable in classical music, and one without knowledge in classical. Both groups, however, displayed similar results.

The soothing and stimulating effect of western classical music manifests itself not only on the mind, but also on the body. It was discovered that western classical music can slightly reduce pain, and enhances the healing capabilities of the human body. In particular, classical music can distract people from chronic pain they are experiencing, help them relax, and reduce the levels of stress they are experiencing. It is still a debate, however, whether the healing effects of western classical music has something to do with sound vibrations, or with the fact that it helps a patient to relax and thus soothes pain (

Yet another positive effect western classical music has (and an important one) is that it can help a person fall asleep better, which should definitely be appreciated by people suffering from insomnia and other sleeping disorders. Once again, this occurs due to the immense relaxing effect western classical music has: by calming down the mind, it makes one’s body “follow,” letting a person fall asleep easier. This effect is so strongly marked that western classical music, along with neutral ambient noises and the sounds of nature, has become one of the favorite “prescriptions” sleep therapists use to help their patients.

Western classical music is known to have many other positive effects—surprisingly, not only on humans, but also plants and animals. What is invaluable about it is that this kind of music can temporarily boost up one’s intellectual capabilities and effectively help a person enter a more productive and creative state of mind; for those in chronic pain or under treatment, classical music can be a substitute (or at least a complement) to regular painkillers, as it is known to have a property to sooth pain and enhance healing processes occurring in the body; finally, western classical music is one of the favorite therapies of sleep therapists around the world, as it can help a person with sleep disorders relax and fall asleep easier. Western classical music is yet to be studied in more detail, but its therapeutic and augmenting, so to say, effects, are already obvious.

Works Cited

  1. “Amazing Benefits of Listening to Classical Music.” Lifehack. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. <>.
  2. “How Does the Brain Respond to Classical Music?” Leaf Group, 28 Oct. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. <>.
  3. “10 Profound Benefits of Listening to Classical Music.” N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. <>.
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