Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could just listen to music and have it positively affect the brain?
Well, it can and does…
Years ago, a man by the name of Georgi Lozanov, (1926-2012) a Bulgarian psychiatrist studied how music affected the brain when people merely listened to it. What he discovered was rather astonishing. He found that when we listen to a specific kind of music, with a specific rhythm—the heartbeat and brainwaves synchronize themselves to the beat of the music. When the heartbeat slowed down the mind was able to work more effectively and efficiently and the mind actually became more alert.
Additionally, the electromagnetic frequency of the brain changed to approximately 7.5 cycles per second or what is referred to as the Schumann Resonance, the alpha mode or meditative thought in the brain. Other scientists have found similar results—music can change brain waves and when this happens—learning, memory, and organization increases.
Since Lozanov’s discoveries, many scientists and educators have experimented and found similar results: Dr. Norio Owaki, a Tokyo researcher found that music can induce alpha waves; Drs. Stein, Hardy, and Totten at North Texas University found that certain types of classical music can increase memorization and retention of college students.
And, when I was working on my master’s degree, I conducted a parallel study based on Lozanov’s work. I used the Water Music by George Frideric Handel—a piece studied by Lozanov for changing brain activity. I found that while lecturing if I played this music in the background that students were able to absorb, retain and retrieve information significantly better—up to 85 percent.
Think about it—what could be easier for increasing memory and learning than just listening to classical music?
Music Suggestion: when you are engaged in any kind of work that is strenuous or requires your full attention, or when trying to memorize information, try listening to some of the following music suggested by Lozanov playing quietly in the background:
Bach: Brandenburg Concertos
Handel: Water Music
Haydn: Concerto no. 1 for Violin
Mozart: Symphony no. 35 in D Major, “Haffner”
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
**Note: it usually takes about 15-20 minutes for the mind to change to the alpha mode.
Activity Suggestion: I played various pieces of classical music for my sons when they did their homework. I put the music on before picking them up from school so that when they walked in the door, the music was playing. By the time they were ready to begin their homework their brains had changed to the alpha mode. It was amazing how much easier it was for them to concentrate and complete their homework.