Classical Music for Studying: Mozart vs Chopin

What music is best to listen to when you need to focus? Should you listen to Mozart or Chopin?

Classical Music for Studying: Mozart vs Chopin

Listening to music while studying has been researched for many years, particularly the link between classical music and increased productivity. But what music is best to listen to when you need to focus? Should you listen to Mozart or Chopin? What are the benefits of listening to classical music and are there any downsides to it? Read on to find out more about the link between classical music and studying and what science knows so far.

What does science say?

A recent study, which tested playing excerpts of music during an online lecture, found that the group listening to the piece of classical music performed 18% higher in the exam the following day. The students who listened to Beethoven’s famous Moonlight sonata activated a process known as “targeted memory reactivation” (TMR), which stimulates the brain to access memories. If you are focusing on something in particular, in this case, a university lecture, your brain remembers the information absorbed whilst listening to the music. Half of the participants in the study listened to the same piece of music throughout the night as they slept and the other half slept with white noise. Although there still needs to be more research, there is clear evidence to suggest that classical music can improve memory and allow the brain to focus and retain large amounts of information while studying.

Why classical music?

There are many genres of music to choose from including jazz, pop, and rock, so why classical music? Pop music is too distracting, studies have shown that lyrical music can disrupt studying because you can’t read words and sing lyrics at the same time and if you put on your headphones and listen to your favorite song, there is a high chance you will pay more attention to that than the textbook in front of you. Jazz music has a similar problem, it may not contain words but it is too sporadic, the clashing of instruments can also cause you to lose focus.

A German study found that happy, uplifting music such as Beethoven or Chopin stimulates creative thinking and causes the brain to function with divergent thinking. Which enables your brain to develop new lines of thought. There are other forms of instrumental music that can uplift your mood but all the research suggests that classical music is the better choice if you want to focus and retain more information.

The positive benefits

Did you know that listening to classical music can produce the feel-good chemical Dopamine? When you feel happier and have lower levels of stress and anxiety, you are more likely to study better. Listening to classical music can also be a great way to reward yourself for studying. Research from 2019 shows that music can activate the same reward center in your brain as doing other activities you enjoy. This means listening to music while you study can provide the motivation you need to learn new information.

Mozart vs Chopin

What type of classical music works best? There are so many different songs to choose from as the world of classical music is expansive. So where do you start? How do you find the right type of classical music specifically for studying? First of all, it’s best to avoid the grand orchestral pieces, so don’t play Beethoven’s fifth when you are trying to study for your physics paper. Anything that has a rapid beat or multiple instruments might be better for leisurely listening. The simple arrangements with only a few instruments are better suited for studying.

Piano compositions such as Impromptu No.3 by Franza Schubert, Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven, and Nocturnes by Chopin are all excellent choices of music that you can try. So put on some headphones and listen to Chopin Beethoven, Franz Schubert, and more and you supercharge your brain for every study session moving forward.


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