The Effects of Instrumental Music

By James Gilmore ; Updated September 15, 2017

Apparently, listening to Tchaikovsky can improve your test scores. Researchers have been discussing the "Mozart Effect" and the effect exposure to classical music has on the brain since the early 1990s. Since that time, various studies have shown that instrumental music can improve mood, relaxation and pain relief. Instrumental music has various positive effects for listeners.

Brain Development

Instrumental music is brain food. It has positive effects on cognitive development in children, according to researchers at Boston College. Training in instrumental music results in greater growth in manual dexterity and music perception skills, significantly improved verbal and mathematical performance and more gray matter volume in the brain. People perform logic tasks better in the presence of instrumental music as opposed to vocal music, according to a study at the Department of Psychology at the University College London.

Listening to instrumental music also helps people perform better in problem-solving tasks than listening to punk music, according to a study conducted by Wichita State University. Researchers found that those listening to classical music seemed more involved in the task, possibly brought on by the relaxing nature of the music.

Relaxation

Those suffering from pain and/or depression should listen to instrumental music for relaxation and relief. Music therapy is instituted in many hospitals and hospices to relieve stress and provide comfort, according to a State University of New York New Paltz study. Researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that playing slow instrumental music, including jazz, harp and piano music, reduced pain and anxiety in patients following open-heart surgery.

Instrumental music is also beneficial to those requiring sedative medication, reducing the necessary dosage, according to a study appearing in the Indian Journal of Gastroenterology.

Mood

Instrumental music has an impact on mood and the actions people take. In 2004, London police played classical music in London Underground Transit stations, leading to less crime and calmer passengers, according to Times Online. It also improves the mood of people at work. The playing of baroque music in reading rooms led to improved moods for eight radiologists, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Maryland and University of Pennsylvania.

About the Author

James Gilmore has written professionally since 2005. Since then, he has written and proofread obituaries for "The Press & Sun-Bulletin" in Binghamton, N.Y., press releases for "Goals, Seminars and Consultants" and articles for Made Man and various other websites. He writes a good deal of music-related content and holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Ithaca College.