What Does Classical Music Do to the Brain? (Special Podcast Highlight)

What music do you listen to? What songs do you turn to when you’re stressed or feel alone? Are you looking for something that’s good for the soul and the mind?


Drew Mariani had a great conversation with Dr. Jennifer Donaldson about how classical music can work wonders on our brains. 


Feelings and Brain Boost: Classical music isn’t just pretty to listen to; it also hits you emotionally and gets your brain working. Studies show it can seriously boost your brainpower. 


The Mozart Effect: Ever heard of the Mozart Effect? Listening to Mozart can give your IQ a temporary lift. Researchers at the University of California found that people who listened to Mozart scored 10 points higher on IQ tests compared to those who listened to other relaxing music. 


Gray Matter Magic: Musicians who play classical music have brains that age better! MRI scans show their gray matter stays stable, while the rest of us might see a 20% drop as we get older. 


Feel-Good Chemicals: Classical music helps your brain release endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin, making you feel good, relaxed, and even helps with pain and sleep. 


Old School Wisdom: Turns out, medieval folks already knew music was awesome for your mind and soul. They believed beautiful music reflects the goodness of reality, touching both emotions and intellect, and helps us thrive. 


Catholic Beauty: According to St. Thomas Aquinas, beauty involves proportion, clarity, and integrity. These elements are baked into classical music and align perfectly with Catholic values like truth, goodness, and beauty. 


Gregorian Chant: Drew and Dr. Donaldson also talked about how Gregorian chant is like a supercharger for prayer. It’s basically sung prayer that helps you connect deeply with God. 


Music in Schools: Dr. Donaldson stressed that music and arts in schools are crucial. They help kids grow emotionally and intellectually, setting them up for a virtuous and happy life. 


Relaxation and Virtue: For Catholics, Dr. Donaldson believes that downtime should be about enjoying art forms that might be a bit challenging but still very rewarding. 


Bottom Line: Classical music is not just entertainment; it’s a powerful tool for boosting brain function, emotional well-being, and spiritual growth. Whether it’s Mozart, Gregorian chant, or sacred polyphony, adding beautiful music to your life can make everything better. 

Drew Mariani is an award-winning journalist, writer and broadcaster. He currently hosts The Drew Mariani Show™ reaching a potential audience of 220 million people. His 3-hour daily program offers a unique insight on the most important issues of the day and a platform for dialogue with listeners and newsmakers.