The Most Relaxing Music Genres According To Science
Music isn't just something you listen to at a party or in your car as you drive to work daily. Music can be a therapeutic tool to help you relax and relieve your stress.
Science has repeatedly proven that music is an innate part of every human. It elicits different psychological and emotional responses by triggering the brain. There are different genres of music, and each genre impacts the human brain's activity and functions in different ways.
Music and the Human Brain
Music has been around for many, many years. Musical practices and conventions began with the pre-Christian music of the Greeks and Romans. It was mostly performed by travelling musicians.
From there, music became more popular in the medieval period and became a full art in the Renaissance period.
The Baroque era of 1600-1750 witnessed the production of more musical instruments and musical developments.
Then came the classical period of 1730-1820 which was dominated by Mozart and Haydn. These are men who created some classical pieces that remain popular even today.
The Romantic period of 1780-1880 produced genius musical pieces from known names like Beethoven and Berlioz. This period enjoyed huge developments in the quality of the musical range, creating a medium for music diversity. This period was quickly followed by 20th-century music, which birthed almost entirely different music in a dramatic turn of creativity.
Music has played an important role in primitive and modern human society for many years. It is an integral part of the human life and lifecycle, dominating many activities and eliciting many emotional responses.
Music is much more than just simple tunes, chords, and beats strewn together to form a sound. Music exerts a powerful influence that impacts the human brain's function, behaviour, and psychological responses.
Effects Of Music
Music is a universal language for human expression.
Music creates social cohesion. It connects the singers and the listeners, inducing a feeling of social awareness. This can be seen in the cases of music like national anthems played at sports events, hymns in places of worship, and protest songs sung during a march.
But this is not all music does.
Music has the power to boost memory, lighten or aggravate your mood, fend off anxiety, and reduce your response to pain. Music is like a magical tonic that can do a lot of things.
Research has shown that music does more than provide pleasure and contentment. It can also be a source of physiological and physical benefits by influencing the listener’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Some of the effects of music include:
Music improves cognitive performance
Recent studies have proven that music induces an improvement in cognitive function, especially towards ageing. One of these studies even shows that certain types of music enhance the brain’s processing speed and memory in older adults. These researches suggest that music can limit cognitive decline rate, thereby boosting the average human’s standard of living.
One study proves that playing a musical instrument is a protective factor against cognitive impairment and dementia. This might be because musical training requires cognitive effort and complex cognitive processes that strengthen the brain and improve cognitive function.
This may also explain why musicians are said to be more likely to have a higher IQ than non-musicians.
Playing music strengthens the motor and sensory systems. It is an art that requires rhythm and great attention to detail, both of which are practices that will undeniably sharpen the brain.
But you don't have to be a musician to real the cognitive benefits music provides.
Simply listening to music can enhance your cognitive function. However, this is not a statement that is valid for everyone.
Some students enjoy listening to music when tackling challenging assignments. Some will rather solve tests with nothing but silence in the background.
For many people, however, listening to background music while handling difficult assignments helps them drown out distractions and focus on the job being done. In cases like this one, music improves the cognitive processing speed and provides a mental performance boost.
This benefit, however, depends on the type of music being played. Simple music pieces like instrumental tracks are perfect for improving cognitive function and enhancing memory.
Music with complex lyrics might be more of a distraction than a performance enhancer and reduce productivity.
Music lowers blood pressure
An apple a day might keep the doctor away but simply playing your favorite song is one of the best ways to improve your cardiac health.
Music is a healthy dose for the heart. Music reduces the heart rate and lowers blood pressure.
Several studies have brought the effect of music on hypertensive patients to the limelight, highlighting how music can be used as a form of therapy. This is not surprising as music therapy has been known to have deep-rooted benefits in society starting centuries ago.
The earliest recorded reference to music therapy was in 1789. In those days, music therapy was used as a process to ease stress, promote sleep, and soothe pain.
Music improves motivation
Have you ever been on a treadmill at the gym with music blasting from your headphones? Does the feeling of motivation and a sudden burst of energy originating from the music playing seem familiar to you?
One of music’s profound benefits is its ability to motivate and inspire people to increase productivity and carry out actions. This is the reason you find it easier to work harder on the treadmill with background music.
One way music inspires motivation is through neural stimulation. Music stimulates auditory and motor neurons and increases mental activity. It makes us more mobile and motivates our bodies to move faster.
Since there is a connection between auditory and motor neurons, music motivates your body to match the rhythm of the sound you hear. A fast-paced music track will encourage you to move faster to meet up with the tempo of the music.
This hones your motor coordination, a feature which will not only be enhanced at that moment but also in other areas of your life.
Music also increases motivation by reducing stress and fatigue. It helps your brain remain focused, thereby helping you achieve more.
Music reduces depression
Many studies claim that music is an excellent treatment for many disorders, including depression.
This makes sense since music impacts the mood and provides an outlet to let out negative emotions.
Music triggers the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine plays crucial roles in the human body, including movement, memory, motivation, and feelings of “reward.”
Music also triggers the release of serotonin which is also known as the “feel good” hormone. Serotonin helps people feel more focused, emotionally stable, happier and calmer.
Listening to music leads to increased production of oxytocin which fosters social connection.
Music provides mood-lifting benefits, but choosing the right types of music is necessary when using music as a therapy for depression. Positive music impacts the mood positively and may help listeners feel better.
The benefits of music are mind-blowing and unlimited. With music, people can achieve better psychological functions and physical results, making music an essential key to healthy living.
While all these benefits are great, one benefit music is exceptionally known for is its ability to induce a sense of relaxation.
Music And Relaxation
Music has the ability to relax the mind and muscles, releasing stress. This is exactly what babies feel when they listen to lullabies and drift to sleep.
Music is an effective stress management tool that helps release inbuilt tension that you may have been carrying all day or all week. The right type of music will help listeners attain a meditative state and attain a zen energy.
This is precisely why specific types of music are played when practising yoga, self-hypnosis, and other stress-relieving activities. Music puts people in a meditative state and helps to release stress and promote positive responses to stimuli instead.
Science has widely studied music to discover the potentially therapeutic effects music has on the mental and physical state of listeners. These studies have yielded positive results and uncovered the best music genres that hasten a sense of relaxation.
But how exactly does music help people to relax?
By lowering stress levels, music takes away the adverse effects that accompany stress- like fast heart rate and a high blood pressure -- and releases relaxing hormones.
Music aids in the reduction of cortisol which is also known as the stress hormone. When you are stressed, your adrenal gland releases cortisol which is necessary to find the focus and energy we need to deal with a difficult situation.
However, when you are exposed to cortisol for a prolonged period, it starts to exhibit in negative ways like fatigue.
Music as a therapy to reduce stress lowers the cortisol level and reduces stress symptoms that accompany the production of cortisol.
Research has found that certain music genres help induce a sense of relaxation. Some of these music genres are:
1. Classical Music
It is time to whip out your Bach and Mozart and reach your zen.
Classical music is known for its structural elegance, well-balanced melodies, and smooth harmonizing rhythm. These pieces are created with mostly string instruments, and are both beautiful to the ears and calming to the nerves.
Known as the Mozart effect, classical music creates a calming effect that releases dopamine and limits the production of cortisol. When you listen to classical music, you can almost feel the stress of the day seeping out of your pores.
It is no surprise that classical music is often used as a lullaby for babies.
Studies show that classical music helps children fall asleep faster and sleep better. This is proof that there is no age limit to who can enjoy a good Mozart piece.
Some studies also claim that classical music makes people smarter. A study carried out on students showed that a group of students who listened to classical music before a test performed better than a control group of students who didn't.
The theory is that the calming effect of classical music helped the students relax better and eliminate all feelings of anxiety.
Classical music may also have helped them focus more on studying for the test and improve memory retention. Classical music doesn't begin and end with Mozart. You have a wide selection of classical music like those of Beethoven, Debussy, Brahams, Tchaikovsky and more to choose from.
Classical music induces an almost meditative state that reduces stress and improves the listener’s mood. With classical music, you can unwind, sleep better, lower your blood pressure, experience higher emotional intelligence, and improve your memory.
When choosing relaxing classical music, it is essential to choose one with soft tones instead as loud and brash music.
2. Nature Music
There is something about listening to the sound of rain or the beach. Sounds like these are so serene and soothing that they seem almost surreal.
Science has established a connection between lower stress levels and nature sounds.
According to research, nature sounds have the power to lower the human body’s fight-or-flight response, helping them relax.
The fight-or-flight response is a survival instinct that plays a vital role in our ability to deal with stress. When we are under pressure or in danger, the fight-or-flight instinct is what gets our body moving and prepares us to fight or run.
Reducing the fight-or-flight response causes us to lose the tension in our bodies and relax.
Listening to nature sounds reduces the psychological responses to stress by decreasing the heart rate, decreasing blood pressure, and normalizing the breathing rate.
Nature sounds not only provide a calming effect but also enhance cognitive abilities.
3. Film Score Or Cinematic Music
It might seem strange, but cinematic music or film scores are great for relaxation.
Film scores provide subtle emotional enhancement in movies. The right film score connects with the movie and can make people laugh, cry, and feel a whole range of emotions.
Film scores, like any other type of music, trigger emotional responses by releasing dopamine and endorphins. The right cinematic film scores can help people relax and slide into a stress-free atmosphere.
According to research, playing pop music is one of the best ways to kill stress and induce a sense of relaxation.
To be more precise, pop music from the 80s have once more been picked for their awesome tunes and their work in reducing stress.
How did we arrive at this theory?
A survey was carried out on 1,540 adults between ages 18-65. These volunteers were put through a series of mental stress tests. These people were made to listen to several playlists comprising different music genres.
These playlists contained music from the ‘60s, ‘70s rock anthems, dub, classical music, and R&B from the ‘90s. As they listened to the music, their heart rate and blood pressure were monitored.
The results were clear as day. Playlists that contained hits from the ‘80s had the most profound effect on the listeners. 96% of the group experienced a decrease in blood pressure while 36% experienced decreased heart rates.
This effect might be due to the sense of nostalgia that accompanies the golden oldies. The tempo of ‘80s pop music lies somewhere between 100 and 120 bpms (beats per minute) and may also have encouraged an increased endorphin production.
Reggae is undoubted a relaxing genre that cools the souls and uplifts the spirit. The soothing and therapeutic sounds are not only iconic but also induce the atmosphere with a vibe that no other music genre can.
The average reggae tempo lies between 80 and 110 bpms, which is a lot slower than the average pop music. This leads to the production of sounds laced with a mellow vine and groove that facilitates relaxation. If you are looking for music to relax to, songs by the legendary Bob Marley are a great option for you.
Jazz can also prove to be a relaxing genre. With slow beats that signal your central nervous system to lower your respiratory rate and blood pressure, jazz music can dramatically reduce stress and induce focus.
Jazz relaxes the body by activating alpha brain waves and calming the mind. It works wonders for reducing anxiety and increasing productiveness. Jazz improves verbal ability, memory, mood, and is used as therapy for stroke patients.
These various genres have been repeatedly proven to reduce stress and induce relaxation in listeners. They are perfect for meditation, sleep, or softly wafting from speakers in a spa or other places where relaxation is crucial.
Relaxing With Loop TV
Loop TV provides a platform to stream all your favorite relaxation-inducing music genres. Loop allows you to pick the genre of music you want to play throughout the day, so you can play more soothing musical options during one time period, while you may prefer more fast-paced, pick-me-up genres during other parts of the day, depending on your audience and business needs.
Loop TV is a business entertainment and digital signage TV that provides free audio and video entertainment for you. That's right, Loop TV provides all its services free of charge!
Loop TV provides over one hundred music video and audio channels to stream your favorite songs. With no need for licensing and royalty fees, you can enjoy unlimited music options for as long as possible.
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