The power of music to affect memory is quite intriguing. Mozart’s music and baroque music, with a 60 beats per minute beat pattern, activates the left and right brain. The simultaneous left and right brain action maximizes learning and retention of information. The information being studied activates the left brain while the music activates the right brain. Also, activities which engage both sides of the brain at the same time, such as playing an instrument or singing, cause the brain to be more capable of processing information.
Listening to music facilitates the recall of information19. Researchers have shown that certain types of music are a great “keys” for recalling memories. Information learned while listening to a particular song can often be recalled simply by “playing” the songs mentally.
Musical training has even better effect than just listening to classical music. There is clear evidence20, that children who take music lessons develop a better memory compared with children who have no musical training.
Note: For learning or memory performance, it’s important that music doesn’t have a vocal component; otherwise you’re more likely to remember the words of the background song than what you’re supposed to be recalling.
19. Mammarella N, Fairfield B, Cornoldi C. Does music enhance cognitive performance in healthy older adults? The Vivaldi effect. Aging Clin Exp Res. 2007 Oct;19(5):394-9. PubMed
20. Ho YC, Cheung MC, Chan AS. Music training improves verbal but not visual memory: cross-sectional and longitudinal explorations in children. Neuropsychology. 2003 Jul;17(3):439-50. PubMed