Would you like to pop in a CD and have a better quality of life, and even self improvement? There are three ways you can use music to accomplish this.
Music For Motivation
Put on energetic music, and even doing housework seems less like work. Using music to motivate yourself or change your mood is an area where you can trust your experience and experimentation. When you find the music that energizes you, relaxes you, or makes you happy, keep it ready for when you need it.
Music For Intelligence
Music creates neural pathways in your brain that stimulate creativity. Studies show that music trains the brain for higher forms of thinking. In one study, three-year-olds were split into two groups. The first had no special training in, or exposure to music. The second group studied piano and sang daily in chorus.
Eight months later the musical three-year-olds were much better at solving puzzles. They also scored 80% higher in spatial intelligence than the other group. There's also anectdotal evidence that listening to music, especially from Mozart's era, can help you study and learn better.
Hopefully there will be more research. In the meantime there's no reason not to do your own experimentation. I've heard that Stephen King writes with loud rock music playing, so the benefits of music may be according to your own tastes or brain-organization.
Music For Brainwave Entrainment
Want to listen to some music, and get smarter, or have instant easy meditation? There are products now that "entrain" your brainwaves, in order to put you in a meditative state. Music is embedded with beats and pulses that entrain your brain waves to a specific frequency. Put in the right CD or MP3 for your activity, and you get better brain function. Science? Partly.
Brain wave frequencies vary with mental state. Daydreaming and light meditation take place in the "Alpha" range of frequencies, for example. So if you listen to music containing beats at a frequency of 10 Hz you will generate more brainwaves at a 10 Hz frequency and enter a relaxed Alpha mental state. Do these things really work?
Yes. I've found two products that put me in a peaceful state unlike any other music or meditative practice. Studies will prove the effects (some have already), and disprove the wilder claims. Given my results, however, I wouldn't wait for more research. Many things work long before the scientific proof arrives.
If you are skeptical, you can wait for more evidence of the benefits of brainwave entrainment. Meanwhile, why not try classical music when you study, just to see if it helps? Experiment with music - Mozart isn't dangerous.