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The Many Reasons to Study Music

I am a music student. I have been learning to play the Flute since the age of 8-9, and the Piano since I was about 12 years old.


Classical music briefly and shortly

"Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both liturgical (religious) and secular music."

Art music is: music considered to be of high aesthetic value.

Major time devisions of Western art music:

Ancient music period, before 500 AD

Early music period, which includes

  • Medieval era (500–1420) including
  • Ars antiqua (1170–1310)
  • Ars nova (1310–1377)
  • Ars subtilior (1360–1420)

Composers from the Medieval era: Walther v. d. Vogelweide, Peire Vidal, Philippe de Vitry

  • Renaissance era (1400–1600) eras

Composers from the Renaissance era: Guillaume Dufay, Josquin des Prez, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Orlande de Lassus, William Byrd, Claudio Monteverdi

Common-practice period, which includes

  • Baroque era (1600–1750)

Composers from the Baroque era: Claudio Monteverdi (was composing in both eras), Johann Pachelbel, Arcangelo Corelli, Henry Purcell, Antonio Vivaldi, Georg Philipp Telemann, Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel

  • Galant music era (1720s–1770s)

Composert from the Galant era: Johann Joachim Quantz, Baldassare Galuppi, Antonio Soler

  • Classical era (1750–1820)

Composers from the Classical era: Cristoph Willibald Gluck, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Johann Stamitz, Leopold Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert

  • Romantic era (c.1800–1910)

Composers from the Romantic era: Niccolo Paganini, Carl Maria von Weber, Carl Czerny, Gioacchino Rossini, Hector Berlioz, Johann Strauss I, Felix Mendelssohn, Norbert Burgmüller, Frederic Chopin, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi, Jacques Offenbach, Clara Schumann, Bedrich Smetana, Johannes Brahms, Camille Saint-Saens, Georges Bizet, Modest Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Edvard Grieg, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Gabriel Faure, Richard Strauss, Sergei Rachmaninoff (Oh my, what a list!)

Late 19th-century to 20th- and 21st-centuries (1890–present) which includes:

  • Modernist era (1890–1975) that overlaps from the late-19th century
  • Impressionism (1890–1925) that also overlaps from the late-19th century
  • Expressionism (1900–1930)
  • Neoclassicism (1920–1950), predominantly in the inter-war period
  • Postmodern era/Contemporary(1950–present)
  • Experimental (1950–present)
  • Minimalism (early 1960s–1990)
  • Postminimalism (early 1980s–present)

Composers from the 20th century/modern/postmodern eras: Mahler, Claude Debussy, Richard Strauss, Arnold Schoenberg, Maurice Ravel, Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály, Sergei Prokofiev, Carl Orff, George Gershwin, Khachaturian, John Adams


Benefits of studying, and listening to classical music

Here are the benefits of listening to classical music:

  • It can decrease blood pressure

A study by Oxford University found that participants who listened to classical music had significantly lower blood pressure levels than participants who did not hear any music. Apparently listening to music by Mozart and Strauss for 25 minutes lowered blood pressure substantially in the participants who took part in a study. Researchers suggested that, in order for music to reduce blood pressure, it should have no lyrics, have few changes in volume or rhythm, have harmonies that ‘are not rousing’, and that certain parts of the music should be repeated in intervals.

  • It's a natural pain reliever

When listening to music we can get carried away in the melody, but a study in 2006 found that groups of people that suffered chronic pain felt less pain post listening to classical music than those who didn’t. Researchers suggest that music empowers patients recovering from surgery and even encourage nurses to use it as a rehabilitation tool; music has been known to increase the brain’s rewards centre that helps to ease pain.

  • It reduces stress levels

It is a difficult task to keep stress levels low in this day and age and while some turn to yoga others turn to music and have been able to reduce their stress levels just by putting on some Tchaikovsky. Scientists say that classical music may help reduce stress by lowering cortisol levels in the body and in one study, pregnant women reported that listening to classical music every week relieved their stress and anxiety. Not only was this found beneficial to expectant mothers but also to hospital patients who noticed a reduction in anxiety pre and post-surgery.

  • Improve sleep

Forget your whale sounds instead remember to wind down before heading to bed by listening to classical music. If you listen to your favourite piece around 45 minutes before you hit the hay, it can help improve sleep quality. Several studies have noted that the tempo of the music matters and that the ideal rhythm to prepare for some good quality sleep is around 60 beats per minute.

  • It makes your brain work better

At Northumbria University (UK), a research team performed some experiments on students’ brain functioning when doing tests while they listened to Vivaldi’s Spring concerto. They were answering faster and better than when they listened to the sadder Autumn concerto. The conclusion was that brain activity is improved when listening to pleasant and arousing stimuli.

  • It helps people with dementia

If a loved one suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s, it is well worth noting the studies showing how music can help them to regain memories and enormously improve their quality of life. If your loved one was particularly fond of any music, classical or non, they can be enormously helped by listening to the same music. The explanation is that because music affects many parts of the brain, it can reawaken those parts of the brain not affected by dementia. This is especially true when the music is linked to a particular event or memory.

Now, lets see the reasons why you should study classical music:

  • Classical music is the basic building block for all other genres.

You need to think about classical music as a Lego brick. Putting different Legos together results in all different kinds of colorful creations and masterpieces, but if you don’t know how to put the bricks together, you have limited building abilities. Whats more is the technique and musical understanding that is achieved through the study of classical music makes it easy for students and musicians to perform other styles.

  • Practicing classical music develops your chops

In musical terms, “chops” refer to your physical abilities and mastery of techniques. Chops are key to fulfilling your wildest musical dreams. Learning classical music teaches you to use your hands in a totally new way—talk about developing some fine-motor skills! Whether you want to be able to play a rip roaring solo or to play your favorite song, you need to know and acquire the proper techniques to carry those tunes. Nothing will give you technical control your hands better than studying and practicing the techniques necessary to perform classical music.

  • Classical music feeds your brain

There are loads of studies out there that prove the benefits of simply listening to classical music. Some of those benefits include sleeping better, feeling more relaxed, and becoming happier. Well, imagine what happens to your brain when you go beyond being a passive listener and turn into an active learner? Your memory increases, your hand-eye coordination improves, and even boosts your reading comprehension and a lot more (awareness, hearing, imagination and visualization skills, memory, mental and physical coordination, motor functions, creativity, attention to detail, discipline and patience, emotional intelligence)

  • It boosts your social life

When you learn how to play an instrument, you are able to create something beautiful for your loved ones to enjoy, which brings you closer. If you decide to play music in public, you might make some new friends. If you play with a group of musicians, a sense of fellowship is shared amongst musicians, who can collectively produce so much more than an individual can. Nothing beats a good old-fashioned jamming/hangout session with other musicians, and the bonds and friendships you make are priceless.

  • Builds your confidence

Have you ever wondered, how some seasoned musicians can go on stage in front of hundreds, or even thousands of people, and just perform?

Believe me, it takes a whole lot of self-belief and confidence to do something like that, no matter how good you are. Learning music gives you opportunities to put yourself in that situation and, more importantly, to pull through them! The audience does not have to be massive; you could be performing for just one person or your partner. But when you pull off a performance, you will feel a whole lot better about yourself.

And the best thing is, you will bring that confidence into other areas of your life.

For you classical music lovers out there

© 2020 Lili Zoltai