An ancient practice linked with physical and mental benefits — such as an improved immune system, lower blood pressure and positive brain changes — could also aid in a more cultural matter: really getting into music.
A new study in the journal Psychology of Music shows that engaging in a brief mindfulness meditation could improve focused engagement in music.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Oregon, included 132 students split up into four groups. Two of the groups listened to a 15-minute mindfulness recording before listening to 10 minutes of “La Boheme,” an opera by Giacomo Puccini. The recording reminded the participants to pay attention to their breathing if they felt themselves becoming distracted. They were tested for something called “aesthetic response” — which is their emotional experience to the music — as well as their “flow” — which is how much they felt themselves getting into the music.