Music, I feel, must be emotional first and intellectual second – Maurice Ravel
Music is a universal enjoyment. No matter where you are in the world there is someone who has a similar taste in music. It has the potential to be a part of any activity and it has the ability to tap into almost any emotion. Times have changed, and the focus and development of music over the past 50 years can be hard to comprehend. The genres that have lost substantial popularity are not gone, but the crowds have changed in size. Jazz and Classical music, for example, are usually the genres that come to mind, but they might provide more good than boredom.
Why Listen to Classical & Jazz Music
Before I get into the benefits of classical and jazz music, it is important to point out that there is a lot of 'boring' music in these genres. There are so many songs, but there are always artists or songs to connect with. It may take time to find what you like, and it might surprise you, like it did to me, that you actually enjoy some of it. My attempt is not to persuade you into listening to all classical and jazz music, but to find which ones attract and benefit you. Even science has shown that the type of classical music you listen to affects your productivity!
Classical music is argued to be the root of all modern music, but some will say that Jazz is actually the founding father of modern American music. Regardless, they are rich forms of music that have lasted through the ages. Symphonies and orchestras have not gone into extinction, and there are still great modern jazz and classical musicians. When you listen to the music, particularly jazz, you will see correlations in almost all modern genres. Jazz and similar genres have had influence over modern Hip Hop instrumentals and focus on unorthodox, emotional expression. You can also see influence over melodies in House and EDM songs, and even classically 'jazz' instruments are common in the genre. Not only are these genres rich in history and expression, they seem to have a correlation with self-improvement.
One of the most interesting studies on this topic was conducted by Northumbria University in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, I cannot find the link to the study, but it showed that students who listened to Vivaldi’s more upbeat songs during an exam performed better than those who listened to Vivaldi’s more sad and slow songs. Classical music puts your mind in a place that silence can’t, and although this is a very controversial topic, people have still found the benefit in listening to such music. Time goes by quickly and productively when listening to jazz and classical music and you should see if it affects you in the same way!
When to Listen
The greatest benefit to these inventions in my personal life has been improved studying and writing. The sound adds rhythm to my writing, and it puts me in a mindset that is focused and engaged. I have found that it is not necessarily easy to find classical music that is easy to listen to when working or studying, so here is a link to my favorite study music album. It is more jazz oriented than classical, but you get a sense of both! A lack of lyrics is also less distracting, with few drastic changes in the songs that can interrupt your work flow. If you would like a little more going on in the background, I would recommend this video from YouTube:
Just like language learning, music changes the brain's functions. Relaxation is probably the most desired states of mind, considering it is a great combination of satisfaction and happiness. Jazz and Classical seem to bring out these emotions the best, and even studies have shown that they correlate these genres to a more focused and relaxed brain. With such relaxation, other emotions of motivation and creativity develop, which makes these types of music so much stronger.
At the end of the day, music is a combination of sounds that produce an emotion. If you find that best in House music or in Country, then more power to you! We like music because it puts us into a certain mindset, especially when making wallets. Classical and Jazz are just ones that have stood the test of time, and it is something that I had to find on my own. If you feel that classical music is just simply boring, give it a second thought. If you are even interested playing the actual instrument, check out this video from TED Ed:
Here is a list of my favorite jazz musicians:
- Scott Hamilton
- John Fedchock Quartet
- Bill Evans
- Paul Desmond
- Walter Beasley
- Red Garland
- Eric Darius
- Andy Snitzer
- The Cookers
- Sonny Clark
- Stan Gatz
- Art Blakey
- Chet Baker
Also, for those who do not think young people are interested in jazz (or can improve the genre) then watch performances like these: