Need a Mental Boost? Try Classical Music


This is a guest post from Allison Morris of Online College, Allison shared her wonderful graphic with me which outlines why we should all be listening to more Classical Music. With a teenager going to sit his final exams in school this year and a passion for anything that can help me work more efficiently, I sat up and listened. As I write Mozart plays in the background (honest!)

Music Makes You Smarter Infographic

Music Makes your Smarter

Remember how much you hated practicing for your weekly music lessons, and how you begged your mom to let you quit? Well, it turns all those scales and the incessant ticking of that metronome may have actually been in your best interest. According to this infographic by, studies show that students who played an instrument for just eight months demonstrated an increase of 46% in their spatial IQ. Music lessons also increased attention span, fine motor skills, and memorization skills in young children. Looking at long-term benefits, individuals who played an instrument reported the lowest levels of lifetime drug and alcohol use.

As young adults, music performance students scored 51 points higher on the verbal, and 39 points higher on the math portion of the SAT, according statistics from the College Board. Additionally, music majors had the highest acceptance rate among medical students at an average of 66%. However, even just listening to music can improve your academic performance. There is evidence that listening to Baroque music at 60 beats per minute actually helped students to study longer and retain more knowledge. Listening to classical music also helped high-anxiety students score an average of 12% higher on math exams.

Of students from 12-17 years old, 53% reported listening to music while they studied. The most popular types of music among students were rock, pop, and country, according to a CalTech study examining the relationship between SAT scores and musical styles. Students who listened to music while they studied tested in the average range of 1000-1100. However, those who listened to Lil’ Wayne had the lowest scores, at an average of 889.The highest scorers listened to Beethoven and earned an average score of 1371 on their SATs.

More Productive?

In the work place, companies such as Shell, IBM, and Dupont have also taken advantage of the positive effect music can have on the brain, using it to help train employees up to two times faster. So the next time you need a mental boost, whether you are at the library or in your cubicle, try putting on some Mozart!