A History of Classical Music and its Effects on the Mind, Body, and Spirit

Written by Amrita Sen

Why do we listen to music? It can evoke a variety of emotions and memories whether we associate a specific song to a milestone, a past relationship, or other recollection from our journey through childhood. Its influences on our thoughts and feelings is still being discovered today. Songs and sounds can trigger a unique feeling just by their melody or even accompanying words. We use music to focus, relax, meditate, boost our energy, and in countless other ways.

Classical music has a distinct reputation as well as profound abilities to affect our mood and wholistic wellbeing. When we think of classical music, we conjure the great symphonies of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven who created the harmonies we’ve come to love. The Classical era of music is recognized to have occurred between 1750 and 1830, when forms such as symphony, concerto, and sonata were established.

The style blends elegance and balance into sounds that are pleasing to hear, elicit strong feelings, and have also been shown to impact our mind, body, and spirit. Studies have even shown it can impact intelligence, with experts recommending that classical music be played while babies sleep to help their brains develop or to help focus while studying for an exam. Music and sound have the ability to heal us. Here are some of the ways that classical music helps.

Reduces Stress

A study by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra found that 35 percent of people said listening to orchestral music helped them to relax and feel calm during coronavirus lockdown. Another study by the British Academy of Sound Therapy found that 90 percent of participants used music to relax, 81 percent used it to make them feel happy, and 46 percent to process and/or release sadness. Simple melodies or slow tempos can vastly increase feelings of relaxation or enable listeners to unwind from a busy workday or emotional event.

Promotes Health

There’s no question that everyone uses music in their own way to address feelings or emotions that need to be released. What’s interesting is the internal and physical benefits our bodies inherit from sounds and music. Classical music specifically has been shown to lower cortisol levels associated with stress which can reduce blood pressure and lower heart rate (Source: TheHealthy). The secret to living longer may be found in the next Spotify playlist or YouTube channel.

Invokes Mental Wellbeing

Instrumental music, like classical, embraces the spectrum of emotions. It can be cheerful and bright or it can be dark and gloomy. These sad pieces often allow for introspection – where we consider our own mental wellbeing – or they can help the listener by creating a shared bond, a feeling of knowing that others have experienced the same emotions. It creates a human connection that can be both healing and enlightening.

Classical music is just one style of sound that is known to have abundant positive effects on the brain and body. Its emotional impact, as well as the effects it can have on the physical body, is still being studied. From helping us sleep better to enabling the processing of emotions – it’s an area of study with much more to be revealed.

RoundGlass Living’s Music for Wellbeing lead, Amrita Sen, is a U.S.-based singer, artist, film producer, and designer of Indian-themed music, products, and entertainment for global audiences. In addition to serving as lead to the music channel, she also composes music, sounds, beats, and moving art to support the dynamic platform. Her influences derive from classical piano, strings, and flute with a fundamental grounding in both Western Classical and North Indian motifs. Her longform melodic music is scored and accompanied by moving art drawn by Amrita from her various art collections. For more information, visit RoundGlass at Living.Round.Glass or follow on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Subscribe on YouTube or download the app in AppStore or GooglePlay.