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The head of a violin

Music for Your Mind and Mood

Nan Fornal
This content originally appeared on 

Whether mandated or self-imposed, staying healthy and productive in isolation can be difficult. Music can make it easier.

Choosing Music for Your Day

  • Music for Health and Well-Being

    • Music to Fight Depression

      Four research studies performed in the nineties found that symptoms of depression lessened with music therapy. "Bright, cheerful music can make people of all ages feel happy, energetic, and alert," according to the Harvard Men's Health Watch. Listen to some happy ukulele music now.

    • Music to Help You Sleep

      Music also can lead to better sleep, which many of us need right now. A 2009 analysis of a group of studies found improved quality of sleep for people who used music to relax. Listen to some sleep-inducing music here.

    • Music to Help You Work or Study

      Studying with music playing in the background helps with retention of the material, and classical music leads the pack in terms of helping with recall and test performance. And most effective, according to one study, is Mozart's chamber music.

      Some of the concentration tunes playing at our house these days include Mozart's string quartets and the Haydn string trios. If you are helping children with schoolwork at home, try playing some quietly during your school hours.

  • Music for Fun and Dining

    • Music for Taking a Break

      When it's time for a study or work break, get up and dance or march around the house to Handel's Water Music.

      Or, try singing or humming along to Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. It's tricky and fun, and makes me recall a loud mealtime "performance" by my cousins that had the children and everyone else in stitches.

    • Dinner Music

      Our dining playlist includes mostly instrumental music--piano solos (Debussy, Chopin) and smooth jazz classics (Stan Getz, Dave Brubeck, et al.)--that can carry you through the evening and into a good night's sleep.