Saturday, July 7, 2012

Listen Up: Music Affects Longevity

You've heard about the Mozart Effect on childhood intelligence. Now a report from Yahoo! claims there are healthful benefits from listening to classical music. Here's an excerpt:

In the past few decades, research has found that slow, soothing music is generally beneficial to one's health, whereas fast, jarring music is not. Listening to calming music enhances cognitive functions such as memory, concentration, and reasoning skills; even better, it boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure, relaxes muscle tension, regulates stress hormones, elevates mood, and increases endurance.

Classical music and meditation music were found to have the most benefit on health. On the other hand, irritating sound can cause stress, with all its negative consequences for your health. 

The composers that have been suggested to most effectively improve the quality of life are Bach, Mozart and Italian composers, such as Vivaldi and Scarlatti. Not convinced? Consider this: Classical musicians -- orchestra conductors, in particular -- are among the longest-lived professionals.


David Ocker said...

Although it's a couple years old now, you might be interested in this overview from Psychology Today about studies on the (so called) Mozart Effect.

As for conductors' life spans - do you think maybe that they live longer because waving their arms in the air for hours on end strengthens their heart muscles? I suspect that anyone who waved their arms for say an hour a day even without listening to music would be prolonging their life. Just a thought.

Rodney Punt said...

David: Matter of fact I do believe anyone waiving their arms as energetically as the average conductor would tend to strengthen their heart muscles and improve their circulation system. But I also think there is more to conducting that prolongs life: the exertion of mental energy in the process, the other body movements associated with conducting, the engagement of the spirit and the satisfaction of the musical "journeys" through various works. It all adds up.

Thanks for the enlightening article on the (so called) Mozart effect.