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When you’re driving around on a summer day or walking to class with headphones in, jazz music usually isn’t the first thing you want to play. It’s not a style of music that a lot of young people listen to anymore. I’ve grown up listening to all kinds of jazz: contemporary jazz, smooth jazz, big band, and even old jazz music like Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, and Harry James, all because my family did. Even if it’s not something you listen to often, jazz can easily be added into your daily life, and have a lot of benefits for the listener.


To understand the effect jazz music has on the listener, we first have to understand the musician’s intentions and the background of jazz. Jazz requires a lot of attention and mental stimulation from the person playing the music, mainly because most of live jazz is improvisation. They have to constantly think about if different blues notes go together as they play, a skill that classical musicians don’t need. This improvisation causes the listener to tune in more, and it engages their minds as well. When jazz musicians play blues notes, it’s more emotional which is another element that pulls in an audience. These bluesy tones can be sad at times, hence the name, but a lot of jazz music speeds up and uses these drawn-out notes to create happier music. Happy music that engages the listener means a happy brain. It’s pretty simple, a happy brain means an active and productive brain. Jazz can also have an effect that a lot of anxious students crave: stress reduction. A focused, happy brain means a calm mind as well. Check out a more in-depth review of what jazz music can do for the brain here.

Slow jazz is the most beneficial type for destressing. A lot of students listen to classical music to study because of the mindlessness of it. Although any sort of slow music helps students chill, jazz can help you both relax and focus. Happier, fast jazz can stimulate your brain and allow you to feel more awake but not stressed and shaky like five cups of coffee do. Slow jazz can promote a better night’s sleep, especially while meditating. 45 minutes of relaxing while listening to slow jazz before bed can lower your heart rate, slow breathing, lower blood pressure, and may even trigger your muscles to relax. Although most jazz music has this, look for songs with 60-80 beats per minute to reach peak relaxation. More info on how slow music can get you the sleep you need can be found here. Sticking with this routine of listening to jazz before bed is important to consistently improve your sleep schedule. While other types of music can get you hyped up for a workout or are perfect for long road trips, jazz is the prime option for college students. It focuses the mind and allows students to lose the nerves but keep the energy while doing schoolwork. To destress and relax, check out any of these five Spotify jazz playlists: Smooth Jazz, Rainy Day Jazz, Late Night Jazz, Jazz Classics, and Jazzy Romance.


Edited by Katie Carnefix


Rachel Mangano is a freshman at West Virginia University majoring in Immunology and Medical Microbiology. She loves painting, and is hoping to pursue a minor in art. She grew up in Charleston, WV and when she's home she enjoys cooking and baking with her family. Although she's a sucker for a good rom-com, Rachel loves to laugh and watches a lot of comedy TV shows and movies. On an everyday basis, you can find her with a cup of coffee, hanging out with friends and listening to music.
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